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Bishop Cannon's Own Story 

Bishop Cannon's 


By James Cannon, Jr. 


Duke University Press • Durham, North Carolina 


Copyright, 1955, Duke University Press 
Cambridge University Press, London, N.W. 1, England 



Editor s Introduction 


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As a youth I not only had no desire to be a Methodist preacher, but 
I was determined that I would not be. I wanted to be a lawyer and my 
youthful ambition was to be one o£ those who have recently been called 
'The Nine Old Men.' " x 

So wrote Bishop James Cannon, Jr., in the year 1938 on the eve of his 
retirement after twenty years as Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South. He had also served fifty-six years as a "local and itin- 
erant preacher" and rarely missed preaching two or three times on 
Sunday. He attended many of the annual Conferences of his Church 
and all the General Conferences, not to mention those of the Northern 
Methodists. He participated in annual international, denominational, 
and interdenominational conventions in Europe. He traveled for vari- 
ous causes. One of his three trips to the Belgian Congo put him on 
crutches for most of the rest of his life, but that, if anything, seemed 
to stimulate him to an even greater activity. 

A glance at the record would seem to argue that Cannon's religious 
conversion had changed his interests from public affairs to those of the 
spirit. In fact, however, Cannon never lost his interest in public affairs, 
and rare is the churchman who could match his participation in them. 
Cannon separated in his orderly and logical mind church and episcopal 
activities from those connected with "public life and social reform." He 
tried to make quite clear, for example, when he was wearing the hat of 
chairman of the Social Service Commission of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, and when that of the chairman of the National Legisla- 
tive Committee of the Anti-Saloon League. It can be seen that ex- 
changing one of these hats for another might prove confusing to an 
uninformed observer, particularly when on occasion he appeared at a 
function carrying both hats in hand. For example, he attended all na- 
tional conventions of the two major political parties from 1920 to 1932 
in both capacities. 

Cannon's activities were of a bewildering variety. At the same time 

1. Draft letter, Cannon to "Fathers and Brothers" [1938], Cannon MSS. 



that he was either preacher or bishop, he was also college president, editor, 
businessman, Anti-Saloon Leaguer, and organizer of the Anti-Al Smith 
Democrats in the Southern states in 1928. Controversy buzzed about him 
until he became one of the most controversial figures in the late twenties. 
Few would deny "his great ability and almost incredible energy." But 
some "damned him as a wily, unscrupulous politician who used his 
ecclesiastical status as a mere cloak for chicanery," while others "praised 
him as a man of God who could defeat the forces of evil on their own 
ground." 2 

The story of the first thirty years of Cannon's career is one relatively 
easy to tell. He was born in comfortable circumstances in 1864 at Salis- 
bury, Maryland, where he also attended public school. He entered Ran- 
dolph-Macon College at Ashland, Virginia, in 1881 and received the 
B.A. degree four years later. Shortly after his arrival on campus, he met 
his future wife, Lura Virginia Bennett, daughter of the president of 
Randolph-Macon. He concentrated upon making an excellent academic 
record with the objective of a career in law, but during a series of re- 
vival meetings in the winter of 1882 he decided to enter the ministry. 
Although immediately licensed to preach by the Quarterly Conference 
of the Ashland Methodist Episcopal Church, South, he decided to 
further his career by attending Princeton Theological Seminary and the 
Graduate School of the College of New Jersey (Princeton University). 
He received the B.D. in 1888 and the M.A. a year later. 

"The Virginia Annual Conference met at Berkeley Station, just 
across the river from Norfolk" in November, 1888. Cannon was "ad- 
mitted on trial" and had let it be known that he hoped for "a charge" 
in the hill country, and thus he welcomed his assignment to ride the 
circuit in Charlotte County. In August he had married Lura Virginia 
Bennett, and the young couple spent a busy but happy year at their 
first charge, one with "four church buildings and six preaching appoint- 
ments," a salary of five hundred dollars, and forty-five dollars for travel- 
ing expenses. Although the Cannons were disappointed at being trans- 
ferred, their next assignment, the shipbuilding center of Newport News, 
proved a challenging one. He remained there for two years; then, fol- 
lowing the Virginia Conference of 1891, he was assigned to Farmville, 
in "the heart of Southside Virginia," where he and his family spent 
three "truly delightful" years. There, in addition to his pastoral duties, 
he became editor of a monthly newspaper, the Farmville District Method- 

2. Catholic Virginian, Sept., 1944. An editoral written by Father William Win- 
ston, a Roman Catholic who had several times defended Cannon in this magazine. 



ist, the first of several newspapers which, as he said, were to prove his 
"right arm of power." 

Toward the end of his third year at Farmville, Cannon was offered 
a position as principal of a training school for girls under the auspices of 
the Methodist Church at Blackstone, Virginia. It was hardly an inviting 
offer, since the school had no faculty, no students, no equipment, and 
no money. It had six acres of land, a partly completed brick building, 
and a bonded debt of eighty thousand dollars. However, Cannon ac- 
cepted the offer, requested release from his charge at Farmville, and 
started out on a new career. 

The purpose of Blackstone Female Institute, according to its motto, 
was to provide "Thorough Instruction under Positive Christian In- 
fluences at Lowest Possible Cost." This slogan reflected Cannon's con- 
viction that state schools and most private schools had in common the 
fundamental weakness that they devoted themselves to the cultivation 
of the body and the intellect but gave "no place to culture of the soul." 
They trained "for earth," whereas the denominational school had the 
distinctive responsibility to train "for earth and heaven." The faculty 
was chosen with this objective in view, as was the library, whose books 
were subjected to careful scrutiny before being placed on the library 
shelves. 3 

To achieve the objective of the school, Cannon was compelled to ex- 
pend his credit and his energy. He acted not only as principal and 
treasurer, but also as teacher. He built the school up in enrollment, in 
faculty, and in plant, and he participated actively in community affairs. 
At the same time he was establishing himself as a power in the Method- 
ist Episcopal Church, South. He participated actively in General, An- 
nual, and District Conferences of his Church, joined in organizing the 
Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, and "attended every 
meeting of the Federal Council since that time." In 1904 he became the 
editor of the Baltimore and Richmond Christian Advocate, an obligation 
which required commuting between classes and family at Blackstone and 
the weekly editions at Richmond. At the same time he became promi- 
nently connected with various "causes" in the state of Virginia, the most 
important of which was that of prohibition. In family background and 
conviction a prohibitionist, he was early associated with the Anti-Saloon 
League of America. In 1901 he participated in the organization of the 
Virginia Anti-Saloon League and was from the beginning chairman of 
the Headquarters Committee, chairman of the Legislative Committee, 

3. Sec catalogues of Blackstone Female Institute, for example, 1900-1901, pp. 13 if. 



and active on the Executive Committee. In 1909 he became acting su- 
perintendent, and a year later superintendent. 4 

As the prohibition controversy became more and more embittered, 
Cannon felt the need for a medium of communication that would reach 
more people. He was already making use of the editorial columns of 
the Baltimore and Richmond Christian Advocate to answer "misrepre- 
sentations." What was necessary in addition, he thought, was "a daily 
dry newspaper in Richmond." Thus he once more invested his energies 
and credit in a new project, the Richmond Virginian, the first issue 
of which appeared in January, 1910. For at least three years he found 
himself with three offices and three major responsibilities in Richmond: 
the Advocate, the Virginian, and the Anti-Saloon League. 

Although he remained closely connected with the Virginian through- 
out its nine-year life, he officially resigned from the presidency and board 
of directors in 191 2. By this time the prohibition issue was so important 
and he had made himself so decisive a force in it that he wielded con- 
siderable political influence, particularly in Virginia. In fact, although 
not a member of the state legislature, few could rival his influence on 
that body. 

He continued at Blackstone until 191 1, but then resigned to accept 
an invitation to become General Superintendent of the Southern As- 
sembly of his church, planned for the vicinity of Waynesville, North 
Carolina. This project, which was designed to be a kind of Chautauqua 
for Southern Methodism, could not have looked any more attractive 
than had the earlier Blackstone venture. He was not being invited to 
manage a solvent organization in being, but to raise funds, clear land, 
build buildings and a large dam, and generate enthusiasm for a new 
project. Here the available assets were perhaps somewhat greater than 
had been the case at Blackstone, but the pledges of $100,000 for initiating 
the project proved to be about 40 per cent too optimistic, and much of 
the initial enthusiasm for the project soon wore off. However, Cannon 
moved to Waynesville and again invested his credit and a carefully cal- 
culated percentage of his energy in the project for the next three years. 
He had no little trouble in getting it started: various individuals went 
back on their subscriptions; there were unforeseen complications re- 
garding roads and sewerage; and local banks were not particularly 
generous with credit. 5 

In 1914 Cannon withdrew from his active superintendentship. By 

4. Resolution of appreciation to Cannon by the Anti-Saloon League of Virginia, Aug. 
30, 1918, Cannon MSS. 

5. Cannon to B. J. Sloan, April 17, 1915, Cannon MSS. 



that time the Assembly, known as Junaluska, was established, and the 
dam, shoreline drive, auditorium, Public Service building, and utilities 
were completed. Although he turned the active managing over to the 
Executive Committee of the Board of Commissioners, he retained re- 
sponsibility for the finances, which involved consolidating the debt, 
selling lots, and placing "enough stock to reduce the indebtedness ... to 
a reasonable sum." He continued officially as superintendent until 1919. 

Meanwhile his responsibilities in the prohibition movement were de- 
manding increasing attention. The state-wide campaign for prohibition 
in Virginia was reaching a climax, and Cannon devoted much of his 
time to gaining political support for this objective. Probably more than 
any other individual, in fact, he was responsible for converting the Vir- 
ginia political machine of Martin and Swanson and Byrd, certainly wet 
in inclination, to an organization apparently enthusiastic for the dry 
cause. By gradual steps, a process of taking what he could get, Cannon 
led Virginia along the road until it reached complete prohibition in 1916. 
At the same time his responsibilities increased on a national scale when 
he assumed the chairmanship of the National Legislative Committee 
of the Anti-Saloon League of America. This position alone, testified 
Cannon, was "of such importance that it would take all my time could 
I afford to give it for that purpose." 6 

Cannon could not "afford to give it for that purpose" because in 1914 
he decided to return to Blackstone. The Female Institute had come a 
long way in plant and staff since its founding some twenty years before, 
and within a year another landmark was reached when, at the com- 
mencement exercises of 1915, it was announced that Blackstone would 
add two years to its schedule and become a junior college. Cannon was 
happy at Blackstone. In fact, he was probably happier in his educational 
work than in any of his other activities. Within the boundaries of the 
school he seems to have abandoned what many considered a repelling 
coldness, and he succeeded in winning the affection and loyal support 
of the great majority of his students and staff. 7 

The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
held at Atlanta in 191 8, ended what Cannon called those "happy Black- 
stone years." It elected him bishop. Although this was not entirely un- 
expected, Cannon pondered long and earnestly before deciding to ac- 
cept a call away from the work of his choice. As he himself put it: 

There were so many reasons against acceptance. First, I had been a mem- 

6. Ibid. 

7. See, for example, appreciation written apparently in 1936 by Mrs. Sallie Blackwell 
Jones, Cannon MSS. 



ber of the Virginia Conference for thirty years. I greatly loved the Confer- 
ence and its regular activities. I had never been absent from a single session 
of the body since I joined it. I had rarely ever been absent as much as an 
hour at a time. I had taken my seat at the opening hour of the Conference 
and held it until the appointments were read. I knew everything that had 
been done by the Conference during thirty years. I knew every member of 
the Conference and the probable attitude of every member on questions that 
might come before the body. I loved the Conference and thought of it as 
one of the greatest religious bodies on earth, and it was difficult to bring 
myself to agree to accept any position which would prevent my active par- 
ticipation in the work of the men and the congregations of that body. 

Perhaps no man in the history of that great Conference had been blessed 
with more true and loyal friends, who in very strenuous times had cooperated 
v/ith me to secure desired results. While because of natural self-control I was 
thought by many to be lacking in feeling, there were few men in the body 
who had deeper emotions or stronger affections. To separate myself from 
the people with whom I had worked, from youth to mature manhood, was 
a terrific wrench indeed, and many times after the decision was made, like 
David who longed for the water of the Well of Bethlehem, I longed to have 
the right to sit once more among the elders of the Virginia Conference, and 
to claim its every interest as my own. 

Second, I had been a member of the General Conference for five sessions. 
Since the Conference of 1886 at Richmond I had made a study of the men 
and of the measures before each General Conference. From the very first, 
circumstances had made me an active participant in General Conference 
proceedings, and my experience in the greatest Annual Conference of Meth- 
odism had given me training for the larger body. I considered the business 
of the Church of God to be the greatest business on earth, and I thought of 
the General Conference as that body of my Church which had the respon- 
sibility of determining the great policies and programs of the Church and 
of selecting the methods and the men to carry out those programs and 
policies. I counted it as an obligation laid upon me by the Virginia Con- 
ference to properly represent the views of that body. As was my custom in 
my own Conference, I was always in my seat from the beginning to the 
close of the General Conference, and knew what the body had done and 
what it had not done. 

I did not want to be removed from the floor of the General Conference 
to the platform, where I would be unable to take any part in a discussion 
concerning some great interest of the Church; and at every General Con- 
ference since my election to the episcopacy I have longed, at some time or 
other, to be able to get off the platform and go down on the floor and take 
part in the debate. 

Third, I did not want to give up my editorial work. For twenty-five full 
years I had been an editor, always of a paper which I owned, controlled, and 
edited subject to the approval or disapproval of the Conference from which it 



had patronage. I had learned that my editorial independence was my right 
arm of power. The right to write, to print, to scatter abroad my uncensored 
views on any matter enabled me to win many victories for the causes which 
I championed. Next to preaching and teaching I placed this editorial work, 
and it was with something akin to dismay that I realized that my acceptance 
of an election as bishop meant the discontinuance of my editorial work and 
would make me dependent upon other editors for the right to express my 

Fourth, the superintendency of the Anti-Saloon League of Virginia and 
of the Southern Assembly both carried with them heavy responsibilities, and 
it would be necessary to resign from both positions. But they were both 
activities which could be transferred, in part at least, to others, it being 
easily possible to retain an advisory relationship in each case. 

Fifth, but the real battle centered around Blackstone. Having given up 
my work there once, and having realized what a tremendous gap then came 
into my life, I had returned with joy and with a feeling that my greatest 
work had been done in training young life at Blackstone, and that the same 
work was the greatest that I could do for the remaining years of my life. 
The four years of my second administration had strengthened that convic- 
tion. If the question had been: "Give up your other activities, but hold on 
to the bishopric and Blackstone," it would not have been so difficult to reach 
a decision. There were examples of bishops who had also been college presi- 
dents. Bishop McTyeire was president of Vanderbilt, Bishop McMurry was 
president of Central College. But with me success at Blackstone involved an 
amount of personal contacts with the students which I did not think I 
could maintain and perform the service to which the Church was entitled 
from a bishop. Looking back now after eighteen years in the episcopacy, I 
state frankly that I failed to press home for answers to two questions, first, 
"For which work are you better fitted, and where will you obtain greater 
results, at Blackstone or as a bishop?" Second, "Which is it more difficult 
to secure, another man to carry on the work at Blackstone as you want it to 
be done?" [sic]. 

These were the really vital questions, and had I known then everything 
that I know today, I do not hesitate to say that I would never have accepted the 
episcopacy but would have remained at Blackstone. Blackstone was my own 
child. I and my wife had put our very heart's blood into the building up of 
an institution which was recognized as turning out a distinctive product. 
It was not to be expected that any others would or could make the ideas, 
purposes, and ideals of the founders their own. These had been wrought out, 
strengthened, and thoroughly assimilated as a result of years of personal, 
heart-searching experiences. Every man must of necessity develop his own 
program by experiences. He cannot take it readymade. I fully recognize 
that if I desired that Blackstone should continue to turn out the kind of 
product I desired, the only certain way to secure that was to remain in 
charge of the school. 



But it was not alone the effect which my resignation might have upon 
my plans and hopes for the school which gave me pause. It was the reali- 
zation that once again I would be cutting myself off from the kind of work 
for which I believed that I had some fitness and in which I took great de- 
light. I actually shivered as I thought of some of the lonely times I had 
experienced in the four years' absence from Blackstone. What could the 
episcopacy hold that would offer an adequate recompense? If I had allowed 
myself to decide the question on that basis, I would without hesitation have 
refused to be consecrated as bishop. I knew then, and I have realized every 
year since that time, that the happiness which comes from the continual 
personal contacts of teacher and pupil can never be found in the episcopal 

Why, then, did I accept the bishopric and consent to leave Blackstone 
and to give up the other relations which I prized so highly? First, and 
most compelling, because I believed that the selection by the General Con- 
ference, the governing body of a great Church, of a few men to be the 
outstanding representatives of that Church, could not be lightly put aside, 
especially if one believed that earnest, sincere prayers had been offered that 
a right choice be made. 

I knew that the General Conference as a body knew something of the 
activities in which I had been engaged, and the work which I had been 
doing. I knew that because of the positions which I had taken in various 
matters before the Church for twenty years past I had incurred the opposition 
of some good people, and the hatred of many evil ones. The whole Church, 
indeed the whole country, knew that I had been denounced without meas- 
ure and accused of all manner of evil-doing. In view of everything that had 
transpired in the twenty years preceding, I was deeply impressed by the 
fact that I had been selected by the General Conference to be one of the 
General Superintendents, one of the Chief Pastors of the Church. Was the 
voice of the General Conference to be considered as a call from God just 
as was the call to the ministry thirty years before? It was exceedingly 
difficult to overcome the conviction that in declining to respond to the voice 
of the General Conference I might be refusing to answer the call of God. It 
was that conviction which finally decided the question in favor of acceptance 
of the election. 

I did not object to the episcopacy because I thought that the duties of the 
office would be heavy. There were certain features connected with the 
work which appealed to me. 

I had always enjoyed the meetings of deliberative bodies. The Annual 
Conferences are meetings of bodies of the men whom I knew and loved best, 
Methodist preachers and laymen. While bishops are not allowed to partici- 
pate in the discussion of an Annual Conference, they do have opportunity to 
make their views known sufficiently to influence important actions of the 
conference. While the making of the appointments is a heavy and difficult 
responsibility, yet the study necessary to make them most effectively involves 



many interesting and revealing experiences. Travel throughout the Church 
gives opportunity to use methods and plans in new fields which have al- 
ready been used successfully elsewhere, although the problems and oppor- 
tunities presented in new fields are a great stimulus to bend one's energies 
to meet fresh needs. 

Perhaps that which tipped the scales in favor of the acceptance of the 
election was the missionary opportunity which episcopal work might afford. 
As a young man at Princeton, I had earnestly desired to become a foreign 
missionary, but the family health record blocked any regular appointment 
under the Board of Missions. As a pastor I had strongly emphasized the 
missionary cause. As an editor I had made missions one of the three out- 
standing causes advocated by my papers. I talked with Bishop Lambuth and 
was assured by him that it was practically certain that if I asked for it, I 
would be given missionary work among my assignments. I believed that as a 
bishop I could render a greater service to the missionary cause than in any 
other position in the Church. I felt that in so doing I would probably be 
more nearly responding to the Master's last general commission to His fol- 
lowers, and more nearly follow the example of Paul, the greatest man, as I 
believed, who ever lived. 

There were certain other great causes in which I was deeply interested 
which I thought I might possibly promote more effectively as a bishop. I 
had for years been an active advocate of the unification of Methodism and 
had seen the report which I had championed adopted by the General Con- 
ference. It seemed likely that I would be appointed as one of the Bishops 
on the commission recommended by the report, and there were circumstances 
which made it likely that I would have more influence with the Northern 
Methodist Commission if I were an episcopal member of the Joint Com- 

I was also greatly interested in the cause of prohibition,, state and na- 
tional, and was at that time chairman of the National Legislative Committee 
of the Anti-Saloon League of America, and was recognized as representing 
the Southern states and especially my own Church in my prohibition activi- 
ties at Washington. My Anti-Saloon League friends all thought that I 
would have even greater influence as a bishop than I had had in the past. 

While the General Conference had authorized the launching of the Cen- 
tenary Missionary Movement, it had also declared that following the Cen- 
tenary, there would be a great church-wide educational campaign. My 
friends thought of me as the logical man to be chairman of such an educa- 
tional campaign and believed that I could do the Church a greater service 
in that respect as a bishop than as connected with any one institution. 

All these and other factors had to be thoroughly weighed in connection 
with the decision which was finally made. The fierce battle was fought out 
alone with continued earnest prayer for a right decision. Few, except my 
wife, have ever known how nearly evenly the scales were balanced. 

Had the legislation now contained in paragraph 123, which provides 



"that no Bishop shall remain on the effective list longer than the General 
Conference nearest his 72nd birthday," been in the Discipline or been adopted 
by the General Conference of 191 8, there would have been no question as to 
the decision I would have made. I would never have agreed to accept the 
election with an age limit attached. I considered such an age list to be un- 
Methodistic as applying to no one except bishops. I regard it to be in the 
nature of class legislation. 

I believe such legislation to be a reflection upon the courage and the 
brotherliness of the General Conference. If a bishop is no longer efficient, 
and that fact can be established, the Committee on Episcopacy should not 
hesitate to request such bishop to ask for his superannuation, and if he de- 
clines to do so, should recommend his superannuation. That is the brotherly 
and the courageous thing to do. If the General Conference believes that the 
Committee on Episcopacy is right, it should not hestitate to superannuate a 
bishop against his wishes, just as it superannuated Bishop Wilson in 1914. 
When men can continue as pastors, as presiding elders, as college presidents, 
as editors, as connectional officers, in short, in any position in the Church, 
except in that of the episcopacy, without regard to any age limit whatever, 
it is utterly illogical to retire men by the almanac who were presumably 
elected General Superintendents because of special ability. Their special 
abilities should continue to serve the Church until it is evident that they 
should retire. It is no more painful or embarrassing to inform a bishop that 
the time has come for him to retire if he does not recognize that fact him- 
self, than it is for the bishop and his cabinet to inform traveling preachers 
that the time has come for them to retire. 

Compulsory retirement, when a man is in full possession of his faculties, 
is not only illogical, but it has in it an element of positive cruelty. It is not 
applied to Justices of the Supreme Court or of the lower courts, to senators, 
or congressmen, to doctors or lawyers, or to businessmen. It is not applied 
to members of Parliament or to Prime Ministers of England. It has been 
adopted for the Methodist episcopacy because some bishops have not been 
willing to recognize that the time has come for their retirement and it was 
believed that it would prevent hard feeling if there should be a compulsory 
age limit. 

For a man who is capable of fulfilling his episcopal duties to be retired 
by the almanac leaves such a man in the most difficult situation. He has 
retired from the activities in which he was engaged when he was elected 
bishop, which activities he might have continued to carry on successfully until 
indeed inability to perform his duties would have compelled retirement. The 
work which he was doing before election as bishop is now being done by 
others. In what work can he engage which does not mean great waste of 
accumulated ability to carry on a special work? I would certainly not have 
agreed to have accepted election had it been coupled with compulsory re- 
tirement by an age limit. I do not believe such legislation should be ap- 
plicable to men who were elected bishops before such legislation was passed. 



Men should not be called upon to give up the work they were doing and 
later on have conditions annexed to the term of service, conditions which did 
not exist at the time the office was accepted. 

But the decision was made. I was consecrated as a bishop and returned 
to Blackstone to bid a final farewell to the work I loved so well. I was 
naturally greatly concerned, not only about my own plans, but about plans 
for the future of the school to which I had given twenty years of my life 
and which under God's blessings I had seen grow in building, in enrollment, 
and in influence. It was recognized as the leading training school for girls in 
the Church. The motto which had been flung to the breeze the first 
year, was still the motto the last year. "Thorough Instruction under Positive 
Christian Influence at the Lowest Possible Cost" was not simply a form of 
words but was recognized throughout the Southern educational world as 
representing actual facts. 8 


During the next four-year period, 1918-1922, Cannon's official epis- 
copal duties were confined to the South and the Southwest, and he 
moved his family to San Antonio, Texas. The Conferences in his dis- 
trict to begin with were Mexico, New Mexico, and Northwest Texas 
together with the Texas Mexican and Western Mexican Mission, but he 
was responsible for New Mexico and Northwest Texas for only one 
year. In August, 191 9, he was elected chairman of the Educational Cam- 
paign Commission of his Church. This was an assignment which re- 
quired "much time and labor," and thus he felt compelled to move his 
family to the headquarters of the campaign at Nashville, Tennessee. 
However, in less than a year his responsibilities had been shifted once 
more, when the two Alabama Conferences were added to his district. 
The Alabama leaders persuaded him to move to Birmingham, where 
he was still near enough Nashville to direct the educational campaign. 9 
To climax this continued movement, the College of Bishops in its fall 
meeting of 1921 requested him to visit the Belgian Congo in order to 
make a report to the General Conference (1922) about the missionary 
activity there. 

Although this would seem to have been a sufficiently strenuous sched- 

8. Cannon apparently intended to incorporate the above fragment into a small book 
on his Blackstone experiences. Neither the book nor a chapter on Blackstone for the 
autobiography was completed. It has seemed proper to include it in this introduction 
since his students have been among those most enthusiastically in favor of some published 
record of Cannon's career. 

9. The information on Cannon's moves are included here because it is not made clear 
in the text of the autobiography. Supplementary information can be found in Bishop 
Cannon's official reports printed in the Journal of the General Conferences, Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, 1922, 1926, 1930, 1934, 1938. Information was also provided 
by Dean James Cannon III of the Duke University Divinity School. 



ule, Cannon was simultaneously engaged in a variety of other activities. 
Most of these activities were connected with the forty or more com- 
mittees of which he was a member, some of which were full-time jobs 
in themselves. Taken together they kept him on the move to Europe 
and Africa, to the Near East, and within the United States. He estimated 
that in the four years from 191 8 to 1922 alone he traveled more than 
300,000 miles exclusive of normal local travel. 

At the General Conference of 1922 Cannon was assigned to the 
Eleventh Episcopal District, into which had been incorporated the Con- 
ferences of Cuba and Mexico and the Western Mexican, Texas Mexican, 
and Congo Missions. Cannon chose Washington, D. C, as his official 
residence for this quadrennium, although for the last two years his family 
lived in Durham, North Carolina. Undoubtedly, the factor responsible 
for the decision to live in Washington was that the Church's Commis- 
sion on Temperance and Social Service, of which Cannon was chairman, 
had its headquarters in Washington; "and, as the General Conference 
did not provide an adequate sum to employ a full-time secretary, the 
general direction of the work of this commission seemed to devolve upon 
its chairman. . . ." 10 

Although a lack of funds prevented his making proposed trips to 
the Congo between 1922 and 1926, he was nevertheless constantly on the 
move. He attended conferences on temperance in "ten or more" Euro- 
pean countries; as chairman of the Near East Relief Advisory Com- 
mittee of the General Conference he visited the Near East in 1922, 1924, 
and 1925, in addition to annual conferences of the International Near 
East Relief; and again his committee responsibilities at home compelled 
almost continuous traveling even while in the United States. 

In 1926 the General Conference shifted Cannon's assignments from 
the Eleventh to the Ninth Episcopal District. Of his previous respon- 
sibilities he retained only the Congo Mission, but added the three Bra- 
zilian Conferences. During the quadrennium he visited the Congo twice 
and Brazil three times. But, as usual, his official episcopal duties occupied 
only a part of his time. His committee responsibilities had multiplied. 
Even though a major series of victories in the prohibition fight had 
been won with the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment and the 
passage of the Volstead Act, the campaign was not over; in fact, the 
Anti-Saloon League's activities consumed an increasing amount of time. 

Cannon made it his business to attend every national convention of 
the two major political parties, both as chairman of the National Legis- 
lative Committee of the Anti-Saloon League and as chairman of the 

10. Journal of the Twentieth General Conference (1926), pp. 46 ff. 



Social Service Committee of his Church. His objectives were the reten- 
tion and more efficient enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment; and 
backed by both the League and the Church, his political influence be- 
came tremendous. The climax of his political activities came with the 
election of 1928, when the nomination of Alfred E. Smith by the Demo- 
cratic party persuaded Cannon to break his lifelong record of Democra- 
tic regularity. He became the prime mover in the formation of the Anti- 
Smith Democrats, an organization responsible for putting Tennessee, 
Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and Texas into the Republican column 
on election day. 

With Hoover's victory secure, Cannon's influence had reached its 
apogee. But for years eyebrows had been raised at such active politicking 
by an ecclesiastic. During the election of 1928 more criticism was di- 
rected against his alleged generation of anti-Catholic prejudice. Al- 
though these and other questions created strong factions opposed to 
Cannon both inside and outside the Church, the Bishop was able to 
answer them to the satisfaction of his constituents and in fact probably 
strengthened his position in the course of so doing. Since he was now 
considered a decisive influence, at least in Virginia politics, politicos 
were obviously interested in what his future relationship to the Demo- 
cratic party would be. They wondered specifically what stand he would 
take in the Virginia gubernatorial election of 1929. Many apparently 
believed that Cannon's traditional Democratic leanings would prevent 
him from taking any step which might promote Republicanism in Vir- 
ginia local government, and consequently there must have been con- 
sternation in Democratic ranks when Cannon publicly expressed a deter- 
mination in June, 1929, to support no gubernatorial candidate who had 
voted for Smith. In actual fact, this would cut out all candidates ac- 
ceptable to the Byrd political machine. 

At approximately the same time Cannon wrote to the convention 
of the Anti-Smith Democrats, meeting at Roanoke, Virginia, informing 
them that Raskob's continuation as chairman of the Democratic Na- 
tional Committee and the Byrd machine's support prevented Cannon's 
return to the Democratic party. Wrote Cannon: ". . . the issue is 'Ras- 
kobism versus Southern Democracy,' and a defeat of the Democratic 
machine in 1929 is necessary to demonstrate a repudiation of Ras- 
kobism." 11 

Cannon refused to be considered as a candidate for governor, so the 
convention turned to William Mosely Brown, a teacher at Washington 

11. Cannon to Convention of Anti-Smith Democrats, June 16, 1929, Cannon MSS. 



and Lee University. The Republican convention chose the same candi- 
date shortly thereafter. 

How this election would have come out had Cannon's prestige re- 
mained as great as in 1928 will never be answered, for within a few 
months a series of events virtually destroyed his political influence. The 
first of these was the publication by the Hearst press of detailed allega- 
tions that Cannon had for almost a year in 1927 and 1928 been a patron 
of an illicit New York "bucket shop." In short, he was accused of en- 
gaging in illegal stock gambling. The firm in question, Kable and 
Company, was then on trial in a federal court charged with using the 
mails with intent to defraud. No sooner had this charge been publicized 
than Senator Carter Glass of Virginia aired an accusation which had 
been kept under cover for some time that Cannon had engaged in specu- 
lation in flour in short supply during World War I; and almost simul- 
taneously Representative George H. Tinkham of Massachusetts accused 
Cannon of misusing funds donated to the Anti-Smith Democrats and a 
violation of the Federal Corrupt Practices Act (1925) during the election 
of 1928. 

The force of these accusations was to some extent neutralized by the 
fact that they all originated from sources bitterly hostile to Cannon; 
nevertheless, the detailed accusation convinced even some of his most 
faithful supporters that a ventilation of the facts was called for. Al- 
though Cannon's immediate reaction was to blame "the wet Roman 
Catholic press" for the accusations, he announced that he proposed to 
ask for a full investigation by his Church upon completion of the trial 
of the two principals in Kable and Company, Harry Goldhurst and 
Charles W. Kable. In the meantime, he assured his brethren that he had 
"not violated any civil or moral law." 12 

This position he further maintained in a vigorous defense contained 
in a pamphlet called Unspotted from the World, printed in August, 
1929. In this he gave in detail his explanation for the food-hoarding 
charges; in even greater detail he defended himself against the charge 
of stock gambling. He pointed out that for the past forty years he had 
openly engaged in business activities. To keep Blackstone College sol- 
vent, he had "bought and sold horses, cattle, hogs, wheat, corn, timber 
stumpage — anything which had property value," and he usually made 
a "fair profit." He acknowledged that he had once thought that trading 
in Wall Street stocks was gambling, but that he had come to the con- 
clusion that stocks and bonds were "issued to represent actual values," 
and that trading in them was no different from trading in lots, houses, 

12. Cannon to Committee on Episcopacy, May 2, 1930, Cannon MSS. 



wheat, or merchandise. Kable and Company he had assumed to be a 
reputable firm, and hence he had bought and sold stock through it. 

In October, 1929, Goldhurst and Kable pleaded guilty to the charge of 
using the mails with intent to defraud, but they were not convicted of, 
and their lawyers vigorously denied, the "bucket shop" allegations. Can- 
non, whose name had appeared frequently in this trial, had sailed for 
Brazil to preside over his Conferences there shortly before the verdict 
was announced. He remained in Brazil until December and was thus 
absent when the Byrd machine recovered its political position by a 
smashing victory over the Anti-Smith Democratic-Republican candidate 
in the Virginia gubernatorial campaign. 

When the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, met at Dallas in May, 1930, its Committee on Episcopacy was 
faced not only with Cannon's promised request for an investigation but 
also with charges against him submitted by twenty laymen of the 
Church. After a consideration of the evidence, consisting of the de- 
tailed complaint, accompanying documents, and testimony given at 
length by Cannon himself, "the committee voted to cite the Bishop to 
the General Conference for trial." 13 A subcommittee thereupon drafted 
the charges and made its report to the main committee. Almost simul- 
taneously, however, Cannon submitted a new statement. While insisting 
that he had assumed his relationships with Kable and Company to be 
"legitimate business transactions," he described himself as "sorely grieved 
that my actions have in any way brought pain and embarrassment to 
any part of the ministry and membership of my beloved Church." This 
statement gave the committee pause and finally caused it to rescind the 
action citing Bishop Cannon for trial, dismiss the charges, and "pass the 
character" of Bishop Cannon. The committee's action did not pass with- 
out protest; in fact, the Conference approved another report of the Com- 
mittee on Episcopacy which condemned "all forms of gambling," as- 
serted that "to remove a stock transaction from the evil known as gam- 
bling, it must be a bona fide transaction, it must be an actual purchase 
or sale, not a temporary hazard on the possible rise or fall in the price 
of a stock," and urged that "bishops, preachers and laymen, shall . . . 
by word and example keep themselves from even the appearance of 
gambling." 14 

The critics of Cannon failed, however, to deliver an even more 

13. Journal of the Twenty-first General Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
pp. 197 ff. 

14. Ibid., pp. 197-199, 231-232, 235. 



pointed rebuke. When the new Board on Temperance and Social Serv- 
ice was named for the ensuing year, they fought bitterly against reap- 
pointing Cannon chairman — the chair that he had occupied since 191 8 — 
but the Bishop's supporters were strong enough to beat back that at- 
tack by a vote of 259 to 134; thus he retained the chairmanship and at 
the same Conference was again assigned to the Brazilian Conferences 
and the Congo Mission. 15 

The Conference at Dallas was no more than over when Cannon felt 
compelled to defend himself before the Senate Lobby Committee, headed 
by Senator T. H. Carraway of Arkansas. As mentioned above, Represent- 
ative Tinkham of Massachusetts had several months before charged 
Cannon with violating the Federal Corrupt Practices Act by not account- 
ing for a considerable sum of money during the Smith campaign of 
1928. In April the volatile Tinkham appeared before the Carraway 
Committee urging it to summon Bishop Cannon to testify. 16 

Since Congress had empowered the committee to investigate only 
lobbying activities, it obviously must interest itself in the Anti-Saloon 
League or the Church Board of Temperance and Social Service as lob- 
bies rather than in Cannon's expenditures in the election of 1928. On 
June 3 Cannon appeared to testify, insisting that it be recorded that he 
was appearing upon his own initiative. Although his testimony continued 
for three days, it soon became clear that Cannon was making a nice 
distinction between the lobbying of organizations to which he belonged 
and his own personal political activities. Thus he refused to answer 
questions which he interpreted as being connected with his participation 
in the election of 1928. Finally, announcing that he was withdrawing 
as a voluntary witness, he left the committee room saying that if the 
committee wished to subpoena him, he would be in his Washington 
office. 17 

There was a difference of opinion within the committee as to whether 
a "voluntary" witness could decide what questions he would answer. 
In any case, Cannon's stand annoyed certain of its members to such an 
extent that the full committee was called into executive session on the 
afternoon of June 12, 1930, to consider citing him for contempt. Here, 
however, the Bishop won a major victory. After "a heated two-hour 
session behind closed doors," the committee of five voted unanimously, 

15. Ibid., pp. 244-245. 

16. Hearings before a subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States 
Senate, jist Congress, Second Session, Pursuant to S. Res. 20 . . . to investigate the 
Activities of Lobbying . . . pt. 9, pp. 3741 ff. 

17. Ibid., pt. 10, especially pp. 4759 ff. Cannon did return for subsequent questioning. 



with one partially dissenting, to sustain Bishop Cannon in the stand that 
he had taken. 18 

Although Cannon received some favorable publicity from his defiance 
of what many considered the unconstitutional actions of the congressional 
committee, he soon found himself confronting new trials. 19 On the 
same day that Cannon's victory was announced, the newspapers pub- 
lished for the first time documents which treated in detail his activities 
on the stock exchange. A month later it was learned that Cannon, whose 
wife had died after a long illness in 1928, had married his secretary, Mrs. 
Helen Hawley McCallum, on July 15. The Philadelphia Record and 
numerous Hearst papers followed a routine announcement of the mar- 
riage with a story containing details which were obviously calculated to 
add up to questionable moral conduct. Cannon's critics insisted that 
these revelations called for another investigation by his church, and by 
September, 1930, four elders submitted to William N. Ains worth, the 
Presiding Bishop, a series of charges which included gambling, flour 
hoarding, lying, and adultery. 20 

Ainsworth at once proceeded to arrange for an investigation of the 
charges. It was not easy to set a time for the investigation, for Cannon, 
as usual, was traveling, this time fulfilling his episcopal duties in the 
Brazilian Conferences. He returned to this country in poor health, and 
further delays occurred. 21 It was not until February 3, 1931, that the com- 
mittee of twelve elders which had been chosen to conduct the investiga- 
tion convened in Washington, D. C. The hearing continued for five 
days. After several hours' deliberation, the verdict was announced. It 
was another victory for Bishop Cannon. The official report of Bishop 
Ainsworth reads: "The committee heard every charge that the com- 
plainants presented, with all evidence that was offered to sustain them, 
and a statement from Bishop Cannon, the accused and the accusers being 
brought face to face. After due deliberation the committee found no 
trial necessary and recorded its judgment in legal form." 22 

Although the Church had again sustained Cannon's position, his 
critics renewed the attack from a congressional committee. This time the 
medium chosen was Senator Gerald P. Nye's Committee on Senatorial 

18. New York Times, June 13, 1930. 

19. See, for example, H. L. Mencken in the Baltimore Evening Sun, June 9, 1930; 
Boston Evening Transcript, June 9, 1930. 

20 Journal of the Twenty-second General Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, pp. 23-24. 

21. See, for example, Dr. Ray Lyman Sexton to Bishop Ainsworth, Oct. 24, 1930, 
Cannon MSS. 

22. Journal of the Twenty-second General Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, p. 24. 


Campaign Expenditures. Although this committee had been functioning 
since April, 1930, it had recently suspended activities because of a lack 
of funds. However, Senator Glass injected new life into its investigations 
by proposing that the committee inquire into expenditures during the 
1928 campaign together with "fraudulent conversion to private uses of 
any campaign funds contributed for use in any election in 1928, as de- 
fined in the Corrupt Practices Act of 1925." Obviously Glass, who had 
already spent a surprising amount of effort in gathering information 
that could be used against the Bishop, was thinking of Cannon, and 
Congress apparently approved, because it now granted the committee 
additional funds. 23 

The Nye Committee renewed its investigations on February 11, 1931. 
Although Cannon did not testify, he was present and was allowed to 
question witnesses. The testimony was inconclusive, but the committee 
was much interested in the fact that Cannon had deposited in a personal 
checking account $8,000 contributed to the Anti-Smith Democrats. 24 
The committee recessed after a day's testimony, and for the next three 
months Cannon fenced with its chairman. Nye accused Cannon of 
"making sport of the committee" by feigning sickness, while Cannon 
countered with doctor's reports which advised against an early resump- 
tion of the hearing. Cannon insisted, furthermore, that the Senate Reso- 
lution under which the investigation was taking place was unconstitu- 
tional and cited in support a Supreme Court decision, Kilbourne vs. 
Thompson, February 28, 1881, which stated: "If crime has been com- 
mitted, the Grand Jury shall investigate. . . . All the judicial power is 
vested in the courts by the Constitution. Implied powers do not exist 
in either House." 25 

The committee ignored these complaints, and testimony began again 
on May 6, 1931. It immediately ran into difficulty, however, when the 

23. Hearings before a Select Committee on Senatorial Campaign Expenditures, United 
States Senate, yist Congress, 3rd Session pursuant to . . . S. Res. 403 A Resolution Author- 
ising the Investigation of Complaints of Alleged Violations of the Federal Corrupt Prac- 
tices Act Relating to Campaign Expenditures, Virginia, Feb. 11, 1931 (hereinafter cited as 
Nye Hearing) p. 1; New York Times, Jan. 17, 1931. The story of Glass's zeal in gathering 
material to use against Cannon is to be found in the correspondence between Glass and 
James J. O'Brien. O'Brien claimed to be the one who exposed the relationship between 
Cannon and Kable and Company. Later, however, he broke with Glass and turned over 
much of the correspondence to the Bishop in order to reveal to the latter the one who had 
caused him "all this pain and worryment." The complete correspondence together with 
documents on Glass's efforts to prove Cannon guilty of speculating in flour during World 
War I is available in the Glass Collection at the University of Virginia. The Cannon MSS 
contain the Glass-O'Brien correspondence. 

24. Nye Hearing, pp. 52 ff.; New York Times, Feb. 12, 1931. 

25. New York Times, April 23, 1931; Cannon to Nye, May 6, 1931, Nye Hearing, p. 66. 



first witness called, Miss Ada L. Burroughs, Cannon's close associate in 
Virginia and Treasurer of the Headquarters Committee of the Anti- 
Smith Democrats in 1928, refused to testify on the ground that the com- 
mittee lacked jurisdiction. 26 For the next four months, in the press and 
in the courts, Cannon fought the jurisdiction of the committee. How- 
ever the courts found against him on this issue and on August 25 the 
hearing resumed. 27 Again Miss Burroughs refused to testify; Cannon 
was not called; and the evidence submitted did little more than confirm 
previous testimony. 

The evidence submitted was nevertheless sufficient to persuade a 
District of Columbia Grand Jury to conduct an inquiry "into charges 
that Bishop Cannon and Miss Ada L. Burroughs . . . conspired to violate 
the corrupt practices act by their alleged failure to file a proper report of 
campaign expenditures. . . ." 28 On October 8 this new investigation be- 
gan, and as a result Cannon and Miss Burroughs were indicted on ten 
counts. The first eight boiled down to charges that Miss Burroughs, 
aided and abetted by Bishop Cannon, had wilfully failed to file certain 
political expense accounts, and the last two charged "conspiracy with 
regard to the previous eight counts." 29 

Immediately upon receipt of a copy of the indictment Cannon an- 
nounced that he was temporarily giving up his episcopal duties in Bra- 
zil and the Congo. His statement included an implicit denial of the 
charges against him, an accusation that the indictment was the climax 
of a three-year effort on the part of his enemies — some wets, some Roman 
Catholics, and some "stand pat Southern Democrats" — to destroy his 
influence, and an affirmation of his determination, if necessary, to carry 
the case to the Supreme Court of the United States. 30 Although he had 
earlier indicated that he welcomed a Grand Jury action, he now found 
the indictment "so defective" that his attorneys filed a demurrer, the 
merits of which were argued before the District Supreme Court in De- 
cember. This proved to be the beginning of a new series of legal ma- 
neuvers. 31 

26. Nye Hearing, pp. 67 ff. 

27. See, for example, New York Times, July 31, 1931; Aug. 13, 1931. 

28. New York Times, Oct. 1, 1931. 

29. New York Times, Oct. 17, 1931; Bishop Cannon, "A Personal Statement," March 9, 
1934, Cannon MSS. 

30. New York Times, Oct. 21, 1931. 

31. New York Times, Dec. 1, 1931. Cannon's principal argument was that presidential 
electors were state officers, and hence that their election should not be subjected to federal 
control. The government argued that the electors, though state officers, were merely 
figureheads, that any organization, such as Cannon's, which operated in more than one 
state could not be subjected to state control, and that federal control was the only alterna- 



The decision of the court was delayed until February because of the 
judge's illness. But in the meantime the Nye Committee published a 
report which asserted that Cannon had deposited money to his personal 
account and that he had not reported all the funds used in the Anti-Smith 
campaign. Cannon promptly assailed the report as containing "many 
amazing misstatements of fact and unwarranted conclusions," and as- 
serted that all the testimony could have been satisfactorily explained had 
the committee granted him an opportunity for rebuttal. 32 On February 
12 "Justice James M. Proctor upheld Cannon's position that the indict- 
ment was defective. The Judge based his decision upon the thesis that 
the counts of indictment were void because they failed to allege as a 
fact that certain contributors were known to Miss Burroughs," the 
treasurer of the Virginia Anti-Smith Democrats. He did not pass on the 
constitutionality of the investigation. 33 

Although the Justice Department immediately decided upon an ap- 
peal, it was not until October that the District Court of Appeals was 
ready to hear the case. In the meantime Cannon had sailed for Europe 
to attend various international conferences on world peace, disarmament, 
and alcoholism. He had already decided that he would not participate 
actively in the presidential campaign; apparently he planned to vote 
for Hoover if he would give "a satisfactory guarantee" that he would 
"safeguard the country from the saloon"; otherwise he would confine his 
efforts to "making speeches on behalf of dry senators." 34 

On October 3 the government tried again. The Court of Appeals 
listened to an hour's argument from each side in the dispute, but the 
issue was muddled, because Cannon's lawyers questioned the jurisdic- 
tion of the court. They argued that the case should have been taken 
directly from the District Court to the Supreme Court of the United 
States. After several months' delay the appellate court appealed to the 
Supreme Court for instructions. 35 The case was argued before the 
Supreme Court on March 14, 1933, and in April the high Court unani- 
mously asserted that the Appeals Court did have jurisdiction 36 This 
was a defeat for Cannon, but it meant nothing more than that the 
Appeals Court must now decide whether Cannon should stand trial for 
violation of the Corrupt Practices Act on May 15. The Appeals Court so 
decided — whereupon Cannon appealed that decision to the Supreme 

32. New York Times, Dec. 23, 1931. The report, dated Dec. 21, 1931, is Senate Re- 
port No. 20, J2 a Cong. 1st Sess. 

33. New York Times, Feb. 13, 1932. 

34. New York Times, Aug. 27, 1932. 

35. Cannon's personal statement, March 9, 1934; New York Times, March 11, 1933. 

36. New York Times, April 11, 1933. 



Court. 37 On January 8, 1934, the Supreme Court upheld the Appeals 
Court to the extent that it insisted that Cannon and Miss Burroughs 
must stand trial, but at the same time quashed the first eight of the ten 
counts of the indictment. What this meant was that the accused could 
not be tried on the charges of wilfully failing to report certain campaign 
expenditures, but must be tried on the charges of "conspiracy" to do 
these things. According to a New York Times reporter, Cannon re- 
marked after listening to the Supreme Court's decision: "They'll have 
a tough job proving conspiracy." 38 

The Department of Justice, however, made preparations for the trial. 
On April 9 the jury was completed and the opening plea made. Accord- 
ing to the government, Miss Burroughs and Cannon had "conspired and 
agreed together" not to report certain contributions because of Cannon's 
desire to conceal the sources of the money used to defeat Smith, because 
of Cannon's appropriation of the contributions for his own personal use, 
and because, therefore, of an inability to report expenditures for legiti- 
mate campaign purposes. 39 

For three weeks the trial went on. A parade of some twenty witness- 
es was called. Although much of the evidence here presented was the 
same as that which had been unearthed at previous hearings, Cannon 
himself for the first time testified at length. He insisted that only a por- 
tion of the funds contributed were used by the Headquarters of the Anti- 
Smith Democrats, that the remainder was spent by a local state commit- 
tee. These latter funds, he contended, were spent within a single state 
and therefore not subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Corrupt Prac- 
tices Act. It was difficult for the government to prove that this committee 
had not existed. It was even more difficult to prove conspiracy. In his 
charge to the jury Justice Peyton Gordon warned: "You can't find one 
guilty without finding the other guilty; if one is not guilty, the other is 
not guilty." On April 27 the jury acquitted Miss Burroughs and Cannon 
of having conspired to violate the Federal Corrupt Practices Act. 40 

The climax to the hectic, five-year series of hearings came at the Gen- 
eral Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, which as- 
sembled at Jackson, Mississippi, three days before Cannon's acquittal by 
the Civil Court. It was a foregone conclusion that Cannon's critics would 
broach the question of his retirement. Equally certain it was that Cannon 

37. New York Times, May 16, 1933. Cannon was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to 
violating -the Corrupt Practices Act on July 17. On October 23 the Supreme Court agreed 
to review the lower court decision. 

38. New York Times, Jan. 9, 1934; personal statement, March 9, 1934. 

39. New York Times, April 10, 1934. 

40. New York Times, April 28, 1934. 



would not accede to this voluntarily. In fact Cannon himself had been 
determined that the trial be completed before the General Conference in 
the hope that the verdict would clear the air. The Committee on Episco- 
pacy raised the issue when in one report to the Conference it "passed the 
character" of Bishop Cannon, but then dropped his name from the list 
of "effective bishops." 41 

Immediately the issue was joined. A Cannon supporter moved that 
Cannon's name be added to the list of effective bishops. For almost two 
hours the Conference debated. The opposition contended that it was not 
to the best interests of the Church to retain Cannon as bishop. Cannon's 
supporters argued that a Church committee had cleared him two years 
before, that a civil court had just judged him not guilty, that the wets 
would rejoice in his downfall, and that he should be permitted to retire in 
due course at the next General Conference. These views prevailed, and 
by a vote of 269 to 170 Cannon's name was added to the list of effective 
bishops. 42 

Although this did not end the controversy over Cannon's career, it 
was the last of the major crises and to him and his friends, if not to his 
opponents, it was his vindication. 43 The General Conference of 1934 
assigned him episcopal supervision over a vast area consisting of Western 
Texas, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and part of 
Montana. Four years later he retired from active service as bishop, hav- 
ing reached the compulsory retirement age, but he continued to partici- 
pate in national and international church conferences and fought a rear- 
guard action in the prohibition campaign. In politics his principal con- 
tributions were frequent communications to the press. He found little 
to praise in the New Deal, insisting that it had nothing in common with 
the tenets of Jeffersonian democracy. He was equally critical of the 
Administration's foreign policy, being in favor of early and belligerent 
action against both Germany and Japan. 

41. Ibid., May 4, 1934; Cannon to R. H. McNeil, Feb. 26, 1934, Cannon MSS; 
Christian Century, May 16, 1934. 

42. Daily Christian Advocate, May 4, 1934, pp. 66 ff. 

43. In this short introduction there is no space for a consideration of the numerous 
libel suits entered by Cannon against his critics. It must be noted, however, that in 1937 
his opponents did find considerable satisfaction in the failure of Cannon's libel suit against 
Representative Tinkham. Not only did the Federal District Judge find for Tinkham, but 
he stated specifically that he believed that the charges made against Cannon of violating 
the Federal Corrupt Practices Act were "substantially true" (New York Times, Feb. 6, 
J 937)- The U. S. Court of Appeals upheld this verdict and the U. S. Supreme Court 
refused a further appeal (ibid., June 28 and Dec. 6, 1938). 




By this time he had already begun to write his autobiography. The 
decision was apparently in response to an urge to put on the record the 
answer to "all the vicious, slanderous attacks upon him by those whose 
purposes, policies and acts he has vigorously opposed." 44 

By 1937 Cannon had written three chapters. In spite of all the writing 
he had done previously he worried about it. Was it too diffuse? Was 
the story "sufficiently interesting for anyone to be willing to read it once 
having started it"? Did it magnify Cannon to such an extent that the 
other facts would not themselves have real interest value? He requested 
criticism, the same sort provided by "my old Professor Peabody of 
Princeton . . . when he criticized my voice, my lack of feeling, my lack 
of appropriate gesture, and lack of logic." 45 

The writing went on, but not so rapidly as either he or his friends 
wished. "A progressive case of hypertrophic arthritis," apparently caused 
by a fever contracted in the Belgian Congo in 1927, handicapped his re- 
search. He could write only a few words at a time, and he found it 
next to impossible to handle documents. Moreover, as he himself said, 
"The only way in which I can ever get the autobiography finished is to 
shut myself up, and devote my time and energy and follow St. Paul's 
example in saying, 'This one thing I do.' " Such a life for Cannon was 
impossible. 46 

By 1942 both Cannon and his friends feared that he would not 
finish the manuscript before his death. His close friend and brother-in- 
law, R. H. Bennett, wrote him : "Don't you dare to think of leaving the 
planet before you finish and publish that autobiography. No telling what 
a mess anybody else who tries to finish it will make of it. But you had 
better hurry up, you are not immortal — not in your present make-up — 
and you can't send back your manuscript after you leave. . . ." 47 

Late in 1942, because of his increasing need for clerical assistance, he 
approved a move to raise a fund which would enable him to finish the 
manuscript. After considerable consultation with Cannon, R. H. Ben- 
nett communicated with many of Cannon's friends. In response a fund 
of more than f 1200 was raised. 48 

Unfortunately, Cannon did not concentrate even then on finishing the 
autobiography. He could not "quit 'going to meeting.' " Still on the 

44. Mimeographed letter [1943], letterhead of R. H. Bennett, Cannon MSS. 

45. Cannon to R. E. Blackwell, June 25, 1937, Cannon MSS. 

46. Cannon to R. H. Bennett, Nov. 13, 1942, Cannon MSS. 

47. R. H. Bennett to Cannon, April 5, 1943, Cannon MSS. 

48. Ibid.; Cannon to R. H. Bennett, Nov. 13, 1942, and April 8, 1943, Bennett to 
Cannon, Dec. 2, 1942, Cannon MSS. 



Executive Committee of the Anti-Saloon League, he usually attended 
the meetings. He was especially urged to go to the one held in 1944 
in Chicago. Although he was in poor health, he decided to go and was in 
Chicago by August 30. At the same time Mrs. Cannon drove their car 
to Michigan to visit some of her relatives. Late on the night of August 
30 Mr. E. B. Dunford, an associate of Cannon's, received a telephone 
message from Mrs. Cannon stating that the car had been stolen, that 
the police had recovered it, but that the baggage had not been re- 
covered. 49 

Dunford went to Cannon's room to inform him of Mrs. Cannon's 
message. The Bishop was obviously not well, and so Dunford did not 
relay all the details of the accident, simply assuring him that Mrs. Can- 
non had not been injured. Six days later Bishop Cannon died. 

He had planned that should he die before the autobiography was 
completed, the manuscript would be turned over to his son, Professor 
James Cannon III, of the Duke University Divinity School. Professor 
Cannon, somewhat reluctantly, assumed the task. He discovered that the 
final draft of the manuscript, which had apparently been completed to 
about 1932, had been in the baggage stolen from the car a few days be- 
fore his father's death. There were available from one to three drafts 
of the earlier chapters, 50 but almost nothing was found that related to 
his activities at Blackstone, and the detailed narrative ended in the mid- 
dle of a chapter devoted to the election of 1928. 

Professor Cannon collated various drafts and organized his father's 
papers. The papers, consisting of some forty-three filing boxes of clip- 
pings, correspondence, and copies of articles, have been turned over to 
the Duke University Library, where they will now be available for re- 
search. A manuscript consisting of a combination of the various drafts 
of his father's autobiography, prepared by Professor Cannon, was turned 
over to the present writer for final editing. 

The autobiography, before its final editing, was approximately 900 
typed pages in length. This consisted largely of one of Bishop Cannon's 
drafts written in the first person. However, there was some additional 
information in another draft of part of the autobiography written in the 
third person, and this Professor Cannon incorporated in the first person 
draft. These additions the editor has retained without notation, after 
checking the final compilation against the various originals. The origi- 

49. Dunford to James Cannon III, Sept. 12, 1944, Cannon MSS. 

50. James Cannon III to R. H. Bennett, Sept. 18, 1944; Bennett to Cannon, Sept. 20, 
1944, Cannon MSS. 



nal drafts have been deposited with the Cannon papers in the Duke 
University Library. 

For purposes of publication, approximately two hundred and fifty 
pages of the original manuscript have been omitted. These pages re- 
lated principally to Bishop Cannon's early life and to his European 
travels and seemed to the editor incidental to the main narrative. In 
some instances repetition was involved, but in most instances the subject 
matter omitted could be described as social history or church history and 
would undoubtedly have been of interest to someone. On the other 
hand, some will with reason say that the editor should have been more 
ruthless in eliminating material peripheral to the main stream of the 
story or in compressing some of Cannon's somewhat involved exposition. 
Yet it is the opinion of the editor that the elimination of the involved 
exposition, although making for easier reading, would reduce the his- 
torical value of the autobiography as a document. 

The volume that results is not a sensational revelation. No more than 
the average autobiography does it provide satisfactory answers to all the 
questions that might be raised about Cannon's career. Yet it does reflect 
his personality and character and provides evidence on some of the 
controversial questions. Its value, moreover, does not lie entirely in what 
it tells about Bishop Cannon. Its early chapters, for example, throw 
light on life in a border state not long after the Civil War, on educa- 
tional techniques in college and divinity school, and on problems of a 
Methodist preacher in riding the circuit. Its later chapters show, among 
other things, how a dedicated ecclesiastic took a wet Virginia political 
machine and dried it up, later broke with it, and created an organization 
which was, temporarily at least, stronger than the machine. 

Bishop Cannon understandably had difficulty in organizing the story 
of his life. A straight chronological treatment was impossible because 
of the complexity of his activities. Cannon solved this rather logically 
by separating his ecclesiastical activities from those primarily concerned 
with what he called "public life and social reform." Although such an 
organization occasionally leads to repetition and makes it difficult to 
see the interrelationship of his activities, it is probably less confusing 
than any other possible organization. 

The editor has made several changes in the organization. The orig- 
inal of the chapter on Episcopal Activities included subdivisions treated 
in the following order: Mexico (1920-1930), Cuba (1923-1926), The Bel- 
gian Congo (1921-1922), Alabama (1920-1922), The Congo (1922-1929), 
Brazil (1926-1930), World-wide Church Work (1920-1927), Near East 
Relief (1922-1929), Unification, and the Controversy with Bishop Mou- 



zon. After numerous readings and some consultation with colleagues, 
the editor interchanged several of the sections listed above. He has also 
transposed phrases in several sentences which seemed obscure, and punctu- 
ation has been occasionally changed. He has also placed the chapter on 
episcopal activities after those chapters which relate the story of Cannon's 
public career before 191 8. He justified the transposition and the other 
editorial changes mentioned on the grounds that the original organization 
was, in his opinion, somewhat confusing and that the draft available was 
not Cannon's final revision. 

Editing the manuscript raised the even more delicate question of 
whether to comment critically upon the story that Cannon was telling. 
The temptation was to footnote every controversial statement that Can- 
non made and to write a biography of Cannon from 1928 until his 
death. The temptation was resisted on the ground that this should be 
Cannon's story. Footnotes have been used principally to identify people 
who the editor thought, or who Cannon seemed to think, played an 
important part in the latter's career. Occasionally they are used to 
amplify a vague reference in the text. They have not been used to ap- 
praise. Occasionally short gaps in the text which obviously were inad- 
vertently left out have been filled in; this material has been included 
in brackets as have also any words which have been added. 

Only a small portion of the autobiography narrating the controversial 
personal developments that occurred after 1928 has been found. The 
temptation here was to assume an obligation of passing judgment on 
these developments. Again the editor resisted the temptation on the 
ground that, given the primary responsibility of letting the Bishop tell 
his own story, it would be both out of place and impossible with the 
limitations of space to write satisfactorily a critical study of the Bishop's 
later career. 

The introduction, therefore, was written with three objectives. The 
first was to clarify the chronology, which occasionally gets somewhat 
confusing in the autobiography; the second was to amplify briefly im- 
portant events in the Bishop's life which for one reason or another were 
not treated in the autobiography; and the third was to tell something 
about the history of the manuscript itself. 

The editor wishes to thank most sincerely those who have contributed 
their time, advice, and resources to the completion of this project. 
Special thanks are due to the Duke University Research Council, which 
provided funds for secretarial help; to those friends of Bishop Cannon 
who helped him in writing the original, particularly Miss Ada Bur- 



roughs and Mrs. James Cannon III; to those who have helped in typing, 
checking footnotes, and proofreading; to Dr. W. T. Laprade, Professor 
Emeritus of history at Duke University, who has given generously of his 
wisdom; to Mr. Ashbel G. Brice, director of the Duke Press, and his 
colleagues for their advice and skill; and to Dean James Cannon 
III, of the Duke University Divinity School, who not only entrusted the 
editor with the project but provided him with an accurate and clean 
manuscript, gave him complete access to his father's papers, has not tried 
to influence in any way the editing process, and has at no time com- 
plained about what must have seemed unwarranted delay in bringing 
the project to completion. 




Editor's Introduction vii 

Author's Preface 3 

I. Childhood and Youth 4 

II. College Days 

Randolph-Macon, 1 881-1885 19 

Princeton Days, 1 885-1 888 40 

III. Early Ministry in the Pastorate, 1 888-1 894 58 

IV. General Church Activities, 1888-1914 84 

V. Public Life and Social Reform: Virginia, 1888-1918 108 

VI. The Fight for National Prohibition, 1913-1918 167 

VII. Europe, 1918 193 

VIII. Episcopal Activities, 1918-1934 213 

Mexico, 191 8-1926 214 

Alabama Conferences, 1920-1922 218 

The Belgian Congo, 1922 220 

Cuba, 1 922-1926 225 

Near East Relief 225 

Unification, 1 904-1 925 233 

World-wide Church Work, 1920- 1927 246 

The General Conference of 1926 255 

The Belgian Congo, 1927-1934 259 

Brazil, 1926-1930 265 

Differences with Bishop Mouzon, 1931-1934 271 

IX. Prohibition, National and International, 1918-1924 278 

X. Defending the Eighteenth Amendment, 1925-1927 343 

XI. The Election of 1928 391 

Index 449 

Bishop Cannon's Own Story 

Author's Preface 

'illinium 1 1 1 ■ 1 1 i ■ ■ ■ > i ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ i > i ■ > ■ i ■ ■ ■ 1 1 ■ > ■ i ■ ■ • ■ ■ i ■ ■ ■ ■ t ■ ■ i ■ ■ 1 1 1 1 ■ ■ 1 1 1 1 • > 1 1 1 ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ i ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ i ■ ■ i ■ ■ 1 1 • 1 1 ■ 1 1 1 1 ■ ■ 1 1 1 ■ ■ iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiui 

I n writing this story o£ Life as I Have Seen It I think it in place to 
say that this Life would probably never have been written had it not 
been for the anti-Smith campaign in 1928, and for the events which 
have followed that campaign. But in view of what did happen, especially 
during the years from 1928 to 1934, it has seemed to be necessary in 
justice not only to myself, but to those who were associated with me 
in my work, to my friends who have believed in me, to my family, and 
to the causes with which I have been connected and for which I have 
labored from early manhood. It is necessary, in order to understand the 
conditions of 1928 which decided my course of action, to have a full 
knowledge of the background of my preceding activities. If in writing 
the early part of Life as I Have Seen It, and this part, I quote at some 
length resolutions and appreciations by various bodies, speeches and writ- 
ings by individuals commending my work, I trust it will not be consid- 
ered that the object of this is simply to publish praises of myself and my 
work, but to print what was said from time to time by individuals and 
organizations fully cognizant of all the facts and capable of passing judg- 
ment for the one purpose — to place on record the facts as they appear 
from the viewpoint of my friends as an answer to the attacks made upon 
me by my enemies. 

There are statements in these pages which I would not make concern- 
ing individuals, were it not absolutely necessary to indicate how mis- 
understandings, prejudices, and positive persecution made it necessary 
for me to defend myself in order that not only [I] myself, but my cause 
might not be discredited, indeed utterly destroyed, by false accusations. 

I. Childhood and Youth 

In this chapter the writer endeavors to give a picture of life in a godly, 
Methodist home and of the activities of a normal Methodist Church in the 
years i8yo-i88o. 

i in 1 1 in i ii in 1 1 mi i ■ i nun i mi him minim nullum i mi 1 1 ii illinium lumuiiuiiuuiiuumuuiuuiM 

If James Cannon, Jr., does not prove a success, both as a Christian 
man and as a minister of the Gospel, he will owe an eternal apology to 
his parents, for few men have ever been blessed with a father and a 
mother [who are] more consecrated to Christ, more untiring and fruit- 
ful in good works and more devoted to the real welfare of their children 
than the subject of this free-hand sketch. Their home is in Salisbury, on 
the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where he was born November 13, 1864. 1 

I am the son of James Cannon and Lydia Primrose Cannon, and 
was born in Salisbury, Maryland, on November 13, 1864. My father 
was the son of Josiah Cannon, a farmer and a merchant of Bridgeville, 
Sussex County, Delaware. Josiah Cannon was the grandson of James 
Cannon, a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, who moved to Philadelphia 
in 1740 as a young man and was a member of the Continental Congress 
from Pennsylvania. 2 

My grandfather, Josiah Cannon, was a man of prominence and in- 
fluence in his neighborhood and county. He owned the largest general 
store in the county, and the distinguishing feature for which it was well 
known was that it would sell no kind of intoxicating liquor, although 
it was sold in the other general stores. . . . 

My grandfather was twice married. The only three children whom I 
remember by his first marriage were my uncle, William Cannon, who 
became the governor of Delaware as a War Democrat, 3 and his daugh- 

1 . This is from the sketch of Cannon in John J. Laff erty, Sketches and Portraits of 
the Virginia Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South (Richmond: Christian Advocate 
Office, 1890). 

2. Cannon is in error here. James Cannon was a member of the Pennsylvania Con- 
vention of 1776 called to draft a constitution for the state (William H. Egle, "The 
Constitutional Convention of 1776, Biographical Sketches of Its Members," Pennsylvania 
Magazine of History and Biography, III, 1879, 198). 

3. William Cannon (1809-1865) was a Democratic member of the House of Represent- 
atives (1844-1848), a member of the Peace Convention (1861), and a pro-union Demo- 
crat. The Union party nominated him for governor (1862). Although the Democrats 


ters Elizabeth Cannon . . . and Margaret Cannon, who married William 
Redden and moved to Eldorado, Kansas, where she lived to her ninety- 
first year. . . . 

By his second marriage my grandfather had four children, the oldest 
of whom was my father, James, who was born at Bridgeville, Delaware, 
November 29, 1831. My father attended the best private schools of his 
day and as a young man taught school for two years. My grandfather, 
however, did not want any of his children to be dependent; so he left 
to each of them a farm and to my uncle William the general store at 
Bridgeville. In May, 1854, my father married Lydia Primrose of Milford, 
Delaware. She was the daughter of James Primrose, a Scotchman and 
a well-to-do sea captain sailing a large vessel from Philadelphia to 
Liverpool and Glasgow. Both families were active and prominent in 
the Methodist Church, which was at that time, and has been ever since, 
the leading denomination in the church life of Delaware and the East- 
ern Shore of Maryland. . . . 

My father lived on a farm in Sussex County, two or three miles from 
the Delaware Railroad. On this farm my brother, George P. Cannon, 
was born in April, 1855. A year or two later my father was ofTered and 
accepted the appointment under the Buchanan administration of chief 
mail agent from Wilmington to Delmar, a town on the Delaware-Mary- 
land line. . . . For convenience's sake the family moved to Wilmington, 
where they joined the Asbury Methodist Church, of which my father 
soon became a steward. In Wilmington three daughters were born, two 
of whom died in infancy in Wilmington of throat trouble. The third 
was born in November, 1861, after the beginning of the war, and was 
named Virginia because of the great admiration of my father for the 
Old Dominion. 

By that time feeling had become very strong in Delaware owing to 
great differences of opinion as to the war policy of President Lincoln. 
The arrest and the imprisonment by the federal government of a num- 
ber of the members of the Maryland legislature to prevent the state from 
passing the ordinance of secession outraged my father's feelings of jus- 
tice and right. 4 Shortly afterward my uncle, William Cannon, was 

carried the legislature, Cannon was elected. As governor, he gave vigorous support to 
the federal government. A Joint Committee of the legislature accused him of having 
been one of those responsible for posting federal troops at the polls in 1862 (George 
H. Ryden, Dictionary of American Biography, III, 478; see also Walter A. Powell, A 
History of Delaware, Boston, 1928, pp. 263-284). 

4. In the spring of 1861 the Maryland legislature had adopted a resolution that an 
ordinance of secession was not in accord with the state constitution. However, in Septem- 
ber so great was the fear that Maryland might secede that nineteen members of the 



elected governor of Delaware as a War Democrat, but before his death 
he became a Republican, and his children and grandchildren have been 
prominent since that time in the Republican party in Delaware. My 
father, however, was not only an ardent Democrat and a thorough be- 
liever in the principles of the Democratic party, but was an intense 
sympathizer with the South and made no attempt to conceal his views, 
nor did he hesitate to state his position frankly. When he was drafted 
to enter the Northern army, he was unwilling to enter into a war which 
he considered to be a violation of the Constitution and a denial of the 
rights of the states. Having a wife and two small children, he was per- 
mitted to pay the amount required to hire a substitute. 5 . . . 

As the war progressed, public and private discussion became more 
heated and bitter, and the election of my uncle, William Cannon, to be 
governor as a Democrat pledged to the war, made the situation of my 
father exceedingly difficult. After thorough investigation he sold his 
farm, took what money he had, and with his wife and two children and 
his younger brother, Josiah, who sympathized with his political views, 
went to Salisbury, on the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland, about six 
miles south of Delaware and twenty-five miles from the Virginia line. 
In that section the people were strongly Democratic; and probably a 
majority, certainly of the leading citizens, sympathized with the South, 
and the Cannon brothers were received cordially. The brothers had had 
some experience as clerks in their brother William's store at Bridgeville. 
Instead, however, of opening a general store, my father decided to 
specialize in shoes for men and women, and clothing and furnishings 
for men. A lot was secured in the center of the business portion of the 
town on a corner facing on Main Street. A large frame building was 
erected with a commodious storeroom on the corner, the rest of the 
house being arranged for residence purposes. . . . While the residence 
part of the building was [being] finished, the family lived in a small 
house on the side street, in which house I was born on November 13, 
1864. I was for my first year a very delicate child and was carried around 
on a pillow most of the time and was not expected to live, but with care- 
ful nursing and feeding I passed the critical stage and became a normally 
healthy child. 

legislature together with the mayor of Baltimore and others were placed "under arbitrary 
military arrest" (Matthew Page Andrews, Tercentenary History of Maryland, 4 vols., 
Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1925, I, 839-840; James G. Randall, Civil War and Reconstruction, 
New York: D. C. Heath, 1937, p. 324). 

5. James Primrose, the younger brother of Lydia Primrose Cannon, was drafted and 
served in the Northern Army, where he contracted tuberculosis, from which he died 
a few years after the war. 



As was their custom, my parents joined the Methodist Church 
promptly upon their arrival in Salisbury, and because of his intelligence 
and devotion to the church my father was shortly afterward elected a 
steward and then chairman of the Board [of Stewards]. . . . 

Our home life was thrust through and through with the religious 
belief of my parents but without the slightest cant or censoriousness. 
In all their thinking Jerusalem, the Church of God, was indeed their 
chief joy. It could hardly be said that they put the church above the 
home or the home above the church. They could not think of one ex- 
cept as they thought of the other. They could not separate them in their 
minds. [A copy of] the Bible was in practically every room in the house. 
Every member of the family had one Bible and sometimes two, one 
smaller and one larger. My father used his favorite Bible every morning 
for family prayer service, which was held in the sitting room before 
breakfast. . . . 

The church loomed larger in the family life than any other factor. 
Even to the children it stood out as more important than the daily 
school. Before I could walk I was carried to church and Sunday School 
by my mother, not simply on Sunday morning, but Sunday afternoon to 
Sunday School, Sunday night to church service, Wednesday night to 
prayer meeting, and Friday night to class meeting. In early years I often 
put my head in my mother's lap and went to sleep. But I rarely went to 
sleep at class meeting, and not often at prayer meeting. The people who 
attended Sunday School, church services, prayer and class meetings were 
the people who really counted in the life of our family. My father was 
the superintendent of the Sunday School and was chairman of the 
Board of Stewards. My mother was a Sunday School teacher and was 
the recognized Dorcas of the church life. She was, indeed, a veritable 
angel of mercy in the homes of the poor and the suffering. No two people 
were ever more highly respected and more greatly loved by an entire con- 
gregation than were my parents. 

Probably no congregation was ever bound more closely together than 
the Salisbury congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 
The church was not organized until after the end of the war, and it had 
been hoped that there would be no division of the Methodist people of 
the town; but shortly after the close of the war a minister was sent to 
Salisbury Methodist Church who was not only lacking in the basal ele- 
ments of common sense, but was absolutely lacking in tact. He could not 
refrain from bringing into his sermons illustrations glorifying President 
Lincoln, the Northern generals, and Northern victories, and denouncing 
President Davis, General Lee, and Stonewall Jackson, and other Southern 



leaders. At last, one Sunday he denounced all sympathizers with the 
South, during the war and since, as being traitors worthy of punishment. 
My father, chairman of the Board of Stewards, sitting near the front, 
touched my mother on the shoulder and said, "This is no place for us. 
We cannot worship God here." Taking his hat, he quietly walked down 
the aisle and went out of the church, followed by my brother, sister, and 
my mother leading me by the hand,, [and by] six other stewards with 
their families and other members of the congregation. They met that 
afternoon in the parlor of my father's home and decided to organize a 
church and to ask the Virginia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, to include Salisbury as a charge of the Norfolk District 
and to send a pastor, promising support for a single man. The request 
was promptly granted, and the church was organized and worshiped 
in a schoolhouse until the congregation was able to build a neat frame 
church. . . . 

The chief aim of both my father and my mother was to serve God 
as grateful, loving children, rejoicing in salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, 
and to train their children to be efficient workers in the Kingdom of 
God. They did not depend upon church services alone, but shaped the 
entire life of the home to accomplish that great end. My father was not 
only an earnest, well-equipped student of the Bible but he was also an 
unusually well-read man. He was an intelligent, logical thinker, with 
strong analytical powers. His wide reading had given him a choice 
vocabulary and his intense earnestness made him a very effective speaker. 
He was fresh and versatile in his work as a Bible teacher, Sunday School 
superintendent, and class leader. I think his greatest power was in family 
or public prayer, which was directly the outgrowth of much private 
prayer. It was almost a regular part of the church service, either morning 
or evening, for the pastor to call on him for the closing prayer. Many 
a time his appeal to the throne of grace, based upon the Scripture which 
had been read and expounded, was far more powerful and effective upon 
the hearts of the hearers than had been the sermon. His preparation for 
leadership in the Sunday School was his chief work during the week and 
as much of it as possible was wrought out in the family circle. 

Being taken into the thinking of our parents, we came to regard the 
Bible in its right position with reference to all other books, as indeed 
a lamp to the feet and a light to the pathway. My mother taught me to 
memorize great passages of the Bible. Text after text, passage after 
passage, entire psalms and chapters, were stored away in the memory 
and became a part of the daily thinking and more or less of the daily 
vocabulary, and have continued with me as a precious treasure all down 


through the years. No other language or thought has been as helpful 
or has been as appealing and convincing as an apt quotation from the 

It was not alone the Bible which was taught to us. Most delightful 
hours were spent in the evening when, with Mother quietly sewing and 
darning and the children grouped around in comfortable attitudes, 
Father would read to us biographies, historical sketches, short stories, 
sometimes a novel of the best current literature, sometimes the best poetry 
of Scott, Longfellow, Whittier, and others. When my sister, Virginia 
Cannon, was old enough to play on the organ we all joined in songs, 
especially just before bedtime. While playing cards were not used in our 
home, as my parents thought it was a mistake to acquaint the children 
with one of the favorite tools of the gamblers and the worldly minded, 
yet backgammon, parcheesi, authors [monarchs and thrones], and especi- 
ally dominoes were frequently played. My father was unusually good at 
games and to beat him at a game was a great ambition which all the 
children had. 

It was a great help to us to play innocent games with our parents, 
causing us to realize that [their] objection to other forms of amusements 
was not because of any hidebound Puritanism or opposition to pleasant 
diversions in themselves, but only to those forms of diversions which can- 
not properly be taken in the name of the Lord Jesus. . . . 

At quite an early age I was encouraged to earn some money for my- 
self. As soon as I could be of any help I stayed in the store, on Satur- 
days, in the afternoons after school, in busy seasons, and part of the time 
during the summer holidays. I learned the value of the different articles 
on sale and my father early taught me never to try to sell anything by 
deceiving a customer, but to tell him very carefully the difference in the 
value of the lower and the higher priced articles. I became a great favor- 
ite with the Negroes, and before I left home to go to college was a fairly 
good salesman with a steadily increasing personal trade. In addition to 
the money paid for store work, I was paid for sawing the wood burned 
in the kitchen and the fireplaces at the rate of $1.60 a cord, for sawing a 
four-foot stick into three pieces and splitting up the larger stick for the 
kitchen stove. This was a steady job, averaging an hour or two every 
day all the year around. A favorite family dish was beaten biscuits. I 
was taught to weigh out the flour and the lard, to turn the same over to 
the cook, and after she had properly mixed the dough, to beat it with a 
hatchet until it blistered. At a later date a biscuit kneader was bought 
and the flour was run through the kneader backwards and forwards 
until it blistered. Freezing ice cream or custard was a favorite job, oc- 



casionally in winter, but two or three times a week in summer. Com- 
pensation for these household chores, while not large, was ample. There 
was always a goodly little sum in my savings bank to use for any special 
purpose, along with money given me by my father and my mother. . . . 

The Negroes in our town lived in a separate part called Georgetown, 
where no white people lived. They had a large well-furnished Negro 
church with rather loud-voiced Negro preachers, who always visited my 
father on special occasions, insisted on his coming up and speaking to 
the Negroes, which offer my father always accepted, knowing as he did 
that in addition to his talk, the preacher expected not less than a ten- 
dollar bill in the collection basket. Without any special thought, I as- 
sumed the attitude of my father and mother towards the Negroes, re- 
garding them as children in development, as dependents who must be 
cared for and who should be treated with justice and kindness. My father 
employed a number of Negroes on his farms and truck lots and I knew 
them all and, with few exceptions, I liked them all, and they liked 
me. . . . 

The public schools of Salisbury in the seventies were not much above 
the average of schools of that kind in a country town in the Southern 
states. At first the pupils sat on long benches, each holding six or eight 
pupils, with long desks made by the local carpenters in front of the 
benches. There were from thirty to fifty children in a room and only 
three rooms, except in the high school, so that the grading was not very 
good. Any teacher had a difficult time to give the needed instruction to 
each child and at the same time to keep order. I thoroughly enjoyed 
my school days. I was so eager to learn new things that studying was 
not a hardship. . . . 

When I entered the high school, I was quite well prepared, for I had 
done a great deal of studying at home. The principal of the high school 
at that time was a man of extraordinary training for that place and time. 
He was the son of well-to-do parents, who had sent him to Yale, where he 
had earned the degree of Master of Arts. . . . He was not only a fine 
language scholar, but was excellent in mathematics and in what we then 
called natural philosophy. My teacher and I formed a strong attachment 
for each other from the very beginning. The three years spent in the 
high school were as happy as any in my entire life. Algebra, plane and 
solid geometry, trigonometry, Latin grammar, exercises, reading, Caesar, 
Cicero, English composition, with choice parallel reading and Guyot's 
Natural Philosophy, filled those years to overflowing. The teacher never 
spared himself and many days taught us until four-thirty and five in 
the afternoon, whenever the pupils desired to stay. My class numbered 



about ten or twelve through the three years, three of whom were un- 
usually bright girls, and three bright boys. The grading was very care- 
fully done after each pupil had recited, and the grades of the first five 
were published in the town paper every six weeks. It was my good 
fortune always to be among that first five and usually to be the first. . . . 

When I was about twelve years old, the librarian of the town circulat- 
ing library went away on a protracted visit. I had literally haunted the 
library at the library hour, from four-thirty till five-thirty Tuesday and 
Thursday afternoons, and when the librarian asked me if I would take 
his place during his absence, I was delighted to do so, because it gave 
me the key to the library and the opportunity to use it at any hour. 
When the librarian returned, he did not desire to take up the work 
again, as there was no compensation, and so for nearly three years I was 
in charge of the town library. There was a very choice collection of 
books — biography, history, fiction, essays, poetry, and some scientific 
works — and it was possible to take home any number of books for read- 
ing. Three years in high school and in the library taught me how to 
think and stored my mind with the best of biography, history, fiction, 
and poetry and gave me a vocabulary and such knowledge of the best 
forms of expression that my teaching, preaching, public speaking, and 
writing have all been moulded for the better by these early years. Grad- 
uation from high school came in June, 1880. It was a happy but a sor- 
rowful day when I received my diploma from my beloved teacher, Pro- 
fessor Thomas H. Williams. . . . 

At the end of my high-school course intense application to my studies 
and reading late at night had left me in somewhat delicate health, so 
that a plan to go to college was held in abeyance for a year. That year, 
however, was very profitably employed. Definite work was arranged 
which would give me ample fresh air and exercise with real work, and 
yet would not be so inflexible or hidebound as to interfere with social, 
family, or church life. Immediately after prayers and breakfast, either 
on horseback or in a spring wagon or a cart, I went to the farm two 
miles away, carrying my lunch, and worked there until evening. I 
learned to do all kinds of work in season, plowing, harrowing, hoeing, 
digging potatoes and turnips, saving fodder, husking corn, binding wheat 
and oats, picking tomatoes, of which a very large crop was grown — any 
and all kinds of work was done. . . . 

Only the most extraordinary circumstances, however, ever interfered 
with driving my mother one afternoon every week to visit the homes of 
the poor and destitute of our church and of no church. These missions 
of mercy never became simply a part of a weekly routine, but the as- 



sociations with my mother and her poor friends were high spots in my 
life and made a deep impression upon me as a growing youth which has 
never been effaced. Clothing, shoes, provisions, even toys and candy, all 
carefully selected with a full knowledge of the needs to be supplied, were 
carried in bundles in the phaeton. When we drove up to the different 
houses, I followed my mother into the house carrying the bundles. 

I have often said in later years that the scenes I witnessed in those 
homes taught me to despise the liquor traffic and to pledge myself to 
fight it in every way I could. I saw mothers gaunt and hollow-eyed, 
oftentimes weeping, sometimes in pain from the blows of drunken hus- 
bands. I saw little children hungry, half-clothed, clinging to their moth- 
er's skirts, and wondering, eager-eyed, what was in the bundle. Many 
a time I saw the father lying on the bed or on the floor in the corner, 
sometimes too drunk to know what was going on, but sometimes 
threatening and dangerous, so that I myself felt inclined to run out of 
the house. But my mother, while tender and gracious, was a very brave 
woman. I never saw her show any fright, much less would she allow a 
drunken man to run her out of a house. Moreover, very frequently, 
after she had left an exceedingly destitute home where she had gone 
through a distressing scene with a drunken husband or father, she would 
drive directly to the barroom where the man got his liquor; and, walking 
behind the swinging doors, she would face the barkeeper and plead 
with him not to sell any more liquor to the father of the hungry, mis- 
erable family which she had just left. In this way I got my first knowl- 
edge of saloons and saloonkeepers. 

My mother's position in the community was such as to protect her 
from any violence, but the saloonkeepers, especially if they had been 
drinking, often lost control of themselves, cursed and swore and told her 
to get out of the saloon and tend to her own business, that they would 
sell liquor to whom they pleased; and I heard my mother tell these men 
who were hard and callous and would not yield to her pleading that 
she intended to work until by the help of God she had closed every 
saloon in town. As I saw these men scowling and swearing and de- 
nouncing my mother, I was hot with indignation and I pledged myself 
that I would join with her to put an end to the body- and soul-destroying 
traffic, the distressing results of which I continually witnessed. There 
were twelve flourishing saloons running full blast in the town and no 
organized effort to close them. The Woman's Christian Temperance 
Union was organized by Miss Frances E. Willard in the early seventies. 6 

6. The Woman's Christian Temperance Union was founded in 1874, the Anti-Saloon 
League not until 1895. 


Five years later my mother organized a local union, but for several years 
was able to get only two other women of the town to join with her but 
she finally conquered. A strong union was developed, public sentiment 
was stirred, and before her death every saloon in Salisbury had been 

The place and influence of the church upon my life through these 
formative years cannot be too strongly emphasized. As I have indicated 
above, I went regularly to Sunday and week-night services. The church 
building was a neat, unpretentious structure, holding about two hundred 
and fifty people when it was crowded. The usual congregation, the 
regular attendants, numbered from a hundred to a hundred and fifty. 
We never had brilliant, unusual men as pastors, but plain, usually sen- 
sible, thoughtful preachers, as that term was then understood. From 
the time of my earliest recollection when I sat in the family pew by my 
mother's side and went to sleep with my head in her lap, until the day I 
went off to Randolph-Macon College, the teaching of the preachers, of 
my Sunday School teachers, and of my parents was consistent, uniform, 
and positive; and I never doubted its truthfulness then, nor have I ever 
doubted it since. 

As a boy and as a youth I sat under the preaching of this simple, old- 
fashioned gospel of the love of God for lost, sinful men and women, 
boys and girls, and year after year I passed through the revival meetings 
of from two to four weeks conducted by our pastor, assisted sometimes 
by the presiding elder or by some other pastor, with exhortations and 
recitals of personal experiences by leading workers in the church, none of 
which were more appropriate and effective than those by my own father 
and mother. There was never any question as to the purpose of these 
meetings. Their purpose was to save the souls of the unsaved in the 
community, the sons and daughters and the friends of the church mem- 
bers and the rank sinners outside. Much of the strength of these meet- 
ings was their definiteness of aim. Are you sorry for your sins ? Are you 
willing to give them up? Will you honestly pray for forgiveness and 
will you believe now that God does forgive you for Christ's sake ? These 
meetings had only the one aim, to seek and to save the lost. For years I 
sat through these meetings, listening to the appeals to sinners, watching 
men and women, boys and girls, whom I knew intimately going for- 
ward to the altar, one after another, with solemn faces, often with tears, 
making public confession of sins and of the desire to be saved, hearing 
their testimonies of the power of the grace of God to forgive them and 
to change their hearts, seeing them join the church and many of them 
thereafter lead changed lives. Many times have I seen the faces of my 


father and mother aglow with holy rapture as some man or woman, 
boy or girl, rose from the altar, rejoicing in forgiveness and the experience 
of divine Grace. 

That was the old-fashioned gospel which I heard in my youth. I have 
read many criticisms in these latter days of the Methodist revivals of my 
young days. They have been declared to have been based upon excite- 
ment and emotion. Criticism has gone so far as to speak in derogatory 
terms of the outbursts of joy on the part of saved sinners and their 
happy friends. As I look back now, I cannot recall anything in any of 
the meetings which I attended in our own church or at the Virginia 
camp meetings which was not entirely in accordance with the Scriptures. 
The climax in the parable of the Prodigal Son is in the cry of the father, 
"This my son was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found." 
If, as the Master says, there is joy in heaven over one sinner that re- 
penteth, why should there not be joy expressed at the altar on earth 
where repentance is professed? If the mission of the church is to seek 
and to save the lost, the preaching and the methods used in my little 
home church, while accompanied with emotion, were neither fanatical 
nor hysterical. I can but wish that there were as much genuine soul hun- 
ger among our preachers and people today as there was in the church 
of my childhood. 

But notwithstanding my love for my parents and my high regard for 
many members of our church, notwithstanding the sermons, the appeals, 
and the prayers made throughout the years, I never went to the altar and 
never made a profession of faith in Christ in the church of my childhood. 
There were two or three restraining influences. Although my time was 
largely filled with reading, studies, home life, yet I had naturally formed 
acquaintances with many boys in the town, some of whom were quite 
godless or gave very little attention to the church. They could not under- 
stand why I was so interested in church life because they could not ap- 
preciate how from my earliest childhood the activities of the church, the 
great share of my family in it, had been a central part of my everyday 
life. Strange to say, only two or three of my schoolmates had any fond- 
ness for studies, and not one of them ever became prominent in after 
life. While no one of them ever had what could be called a dominating 
influence upon me, they did leave a stain upon my mind and memory 
by their bad language and dirty sex stories. Although nearly all of them 
smoked, some of them drank, and most of them swore and indulged in 
other vices, I did not join in any of these evil practices. Such things did 
not have any real appeal to me, and they were so utterly contrary to 
everything in my home life that they repelled rather than attracted me. 



Nevertheless, these boys sitting on the back benches at the revival meet- 
ings were a very decided temporary, though not a lasting, influence. 

But that which affected most deeply my thinking and conduct was the 
conviction that if I ever made a profession of religion and joined the 
church, I would certainly become a Methodist preacher, and that I did 
not want to be. Nearly all the church members told me repeatedly that 
I ought to be a preacher, and our pastors and the visiting preachers would 
pat me on the head and tell me how happy I would make my father 
and mother if I would decide to be a preacher. My father and mother 
very wisely never said anything of that kind to me, but I knew that 
they were praying for me constantly for that result. 

All this was contrary to my thinking. I wanted to be a lawyer, and 
I had as my highest ambition a seat on the Supreme Bench of the United 
States. When the circuit court was in session in Salisbury, I was there 
every minute that I could spare. I knew by name all the lawyers who 
practiced in the court from my own and the near-by counties. I listened 
to their arguments and to the questions and the opinions of the three 
judges of the court, and I learned to discriminate very carefully between 
bombast and real argument. I read the general principles of law and 
was quite critical of unsound argument, either in others or in myself. I 
was not able even at that early age to make any statements, arguments, 
or speeches of any kind which were not based on fact and which could 
not be logically defended. While I had a genuine love for the church, 
a great interest, even pride, in its success, while I put the Bible as the 
first of all books and had memorized many great passages, yet I could 
not make up my mind to put my life wholly at the command of the 
Lord Jesus Christ and obey the call, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to 
do?" ... 

While my mother and father usually knew where I was, they very 
wisely let me have a key to the back door so that I could come and go at 
night without being called upon to give an account as to places or as to 
hours. This freedom resulted in my actually coming home nearly al- 
ways by ten or ten-thirty at the latest, after which I usually studied until 
midnight, and the next morning told the family at the breakfast table 
where I had been the night before. I had a bedroom alone from the 
time of my trundle-bed days, but the family all slept in bedrooms with 
doors opening on a large central upstairs hall. There were few nights, 
no matter at what hour I came up to my room, that my mother did not 
slip in, put her hand on my head in the dark, and kiss me goodnight. 

My bedroom opened on the side street, and right on the other side 
was the hotel of the town, which was owned and run by a very intelli- 



gent Irish Roman Catholic. During the early years of my childhood the 
relations between the two families across the street from each other were 
very friendly. We bought our ice from the hotel and kept our meats 
and milk in the big hotel icebox. My sister took music lessons from Miss 
Kate, and Jimmy Tracy and I were playmates until he was sent away by 
order of the Catholic priest to a Jesuit school in Philadelphia. 

But the hotel had a barroom which became more and more a very 
important business of the hotel, producing the greater part of the revenue. 
This barroom was on the first floor of the hotel. It was one of the most 
private and exclusive saloons in the town and was patronized by many 
men who slipped in at the front door of the hotel, ostensibly for other 
business, and found their way to the barroom at the rear. From my bed- 
room window I could look directly into the barroom and see the bar, the 
people standing around it, and in summer could hear the talk, which was 
often loud and boisterous; and occasionally, although the proprietor ex- 
ercised unusual care, there were altercations accompanied by bad lan- 
guage with oaths, sometimes ending in a drunken fight. The proprietor 
did endeavor very earnestly to keep a quiet, orderly saloon; but, as is 
always the case, men crazed with alcohol would sometimes get beyond 
all control, so that through all the years of my childhood and youth I 
was in sight and sound of a retail liquor saloon and its inevitable ac- 
companiments. What I saw and heard increased my disgust and hatred 
of the traffic. 

When I was about nine years old, an incident occurred which left an 
indelible impression upon my memory. My uncle, Josiah Cannon, was a 
very pleasant, agreeable man and very popular. He was fond of hunting 
and of good dogs, but my father and mother did not care to have dogs 
around the house, and so the hunting dogs were kept in the back yard 
of the hotel and in the hotel livery stable. One day my uncle Josiah was 
playing with two or three of his dogs, exercising them, having them to 
run backwards and forward and to catch and to carry on the side street, 
with his chair just outside the store door which opened on the side street 
directly opposite the barroom door. 

While my uncle's dogs were running up and down, a man in the 
barroom, much the worse for liquor, let loose a large, fierce dog which 
ran out of the barroom across the street and attacked one of my uncle's 
dogs. In his effort to protect his own dog from the very large, fierce one, 
my uncle was bitten on the arm quite severely. The wound was not 
properly cauterized or treated. After a few days blood poison set in, 
from which my beloved uncle died. Although his mind wandered most 
of the time and he was delirious, yet he called repeatedly for the children 


of the family, to whom he was very devoted, and we were in his bed- 
room and at his bedside most of the time. So when only nine years old, 
I witnessed the death of one whom I greatly loved. 

I have never forgotten the appearance of that room, the location of 
every piece of furniture, the grouping of the family, and the young lady 
to whom my uncle was engaged to be married. It was a distressing, 
indeed an agonizing, time for all the family; but the quiet, soothing 
words of my mother and the earnest prayers of my father were a wonder- 
ful revelation of the strength and comfort which come to those who have 
faith in God and hope for eternal life. Knowing that the hotel barroom 
was the underlying cause of my dear uncle's death, I have always charged 
that up as a debit in the balance sheet with the saloon. 

Owing to the division shortly after the war, neither of the two [Meth- 
odist] Churches was as strong numerically or financially as some of the 
other churches, yet Methodism was the strongest denomination in the 
community. 7 While both churches grew, they had practically no re- 
ligious life together. If there was no preaching in our church, our 
people never thought of going to the Northern Methodist Church. They 
usually went to the Presbyterian Church, sometimes to the Methodist 
Protestant Church, and some few like myself went occasionally to the 
Episcopal Church. I am inclined to believe that as a boy I doubted 
whether many Northern Methodists would go to heaven. I remember 
with what a start of surprise I saw some Northern Methodists at our 
church at my uncle Josiah's funeral. And yet, with the exception of that 
one local church in Salisbury 1 , there was practically no sectarian or de- 
nominational narrowness in our family or in my personal think- 
ing. . . . 

My father did not have a large library. He bought a good book every 
now and then. I remember his buying Hudson's Methodist Armor and 
telling me that it was a good book to read and study and might be a 
good reference book for me some day. But he did not subscribe to our 
church papers, the Richmond Advocate, the Nashville Advocate, the 
Quarterly Review, [or] the Youth's Companion, and whatever other publi- 
cations our house at Nashville furnished for the Sunday School lesson. He 
would not take the Philadelphia papers because they were all Republican. 
He did not want to take the Baltimore Sun because its owners were 
outstanding Roman Catholics, but while it gave great prominence to 
Roman Catholic activities and ceremonies, it was intensely Democratic, 
and so it was the Baltimore Sun that I came to read daily. It was then 
and has always been reliable as to its news, except where it was blinded 

7. "Correct this" is noted in the margin of the manuscript at this point. 



by prejudice. Occasionally I would see a copy of a Philadelphia paper, 
which would give me a chance to check up a little on the Republican view- 
point, but to my young mind the viewpoint was wrong almost of 
necessity. . . . 

The speaker who most strongly impressed me before I went oflf to 
college was Bishop John C. Keener, who had come to dedicate a very 
beautiful, small, frame church which had been built on the site of our 
old church. 8 He was the most awesome personality who had ever been 
entertained in my father's home. . . . 

Those sermons preached at the dedication services caused me to com- 
pare the speeches of the best lawyers I had ever heard at the courthouse 
with the sermons of a great preacher to whom the pulpit was indeed 
his throne. I was obliged to admit that the preacher far surpassed the 
best of the lawyers in eloquence, thought, and power. 

While I had always respected our pastors, for they were lovable men 
of high character, yet none of them had appealed very strongly to my 
intellect or stirred me very deeply. My father's talks and prayers made 
far more impression upon me than any preacher we ever had. Here, 
however, was a new type of preacher with a power of analysis and inter- 
pretation of the Scriptures, and with a force and eloquence in driving 
home his message, that made me yearn to stir men myself. The preaching 
of Bishop Keener, followed by some experiences shortly afterward, pro- 
duced a great impression upon my thinking. 

My health having been restored, my father and mother told me quite 
solemnly and tearfully that they thought the time had come for me to go 
to college, and that they expected to send me the next fall. I knew how 
they both felt. They had not wanted me to go to college until I had 
made a profession of religion and joined the church, but there had 
never been any doubt as to their plans concerning me. They did not 
think I should be either a merchant or a farmer but that I should have 
college training for whatever profession I might want to take. And so I 
was brought face to face with the second period of my life. 

8. Bishop John C. Keener (1819-1907) was a Baltimore businessman (1835-1841), 
who entered the Methodist ministry in 1841. He served in Alabama and Louisiana (1841- 
1861), was Superintendent of the Confederate chaplains west of the Mississippi, 1 861 -1864, 
editor of the New Orleans Christian Advocate (1 865-1 870), and from then until his death 
bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 

II. College Dayi 

In this chapter the writer endeavors to give a picture of life and wor\ in a 
small, distinctively denominational college and also in one of the largest 
colleges in the country, before the ambition for university status had beset 
the college world; also a representation of the \ind of teaching in what was 
then, and is now, one of the most outstanding "orthodox" theological semi- 
naries in the world. 

■ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ■ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ■ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ■ 1 1 ■ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ■ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ii 1 1 1 1 1 i 1 1 1 1 1 1 n ii it 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 


There had never been any question as to what college I was to attend. 
. . . The young preachers who had been sent to our church had all at- 
tended Randolph-Macon College. 1 My older brother, George Primrose 
Cannon, had attended Randolph-Macon the session of 1 872-1 873 and was 
distressed when financial conditions, coupled with ill health, had caused 
him to come home. My sister, Virginia Cannon, had been sent to 
Wesleyan Female Institute, Staunton, Virginia, which was then one of 
the leading schools for girls under the care of our Church. I had listened 
eagerly to their reports of their school days and asked many questions. 
Dr. W. W. Bennett, president of Randolph-Macon, 2 visited Salisbury in 
the summer of 1880 and was a guest in our home and preached on Sunday 
morning. His dignity and pulpit power impressed me, and social con- 
tact with him in the home removed all thought of fear and made me 

1. On February 3, 1830, the "Act to incorporate the 'Trustees of Randolph-Macon 
College'" passed both houses of the Virginia General Assembly. In 1833 the Reverend 
Stephen Olin accepted the first presidency and the professorship of Moral Science. The 
Reverend Martin Parks, professor of mathematics, had acted as president from the 
college's opening session in October, 1832, and continued until Olin took over in 1834. 
According to its historian, it is "the oldest incorporated Methodist College in America 
now in existence." It was not until 1 868 that it moved from Boydton to Ashland, 
Virginia (Richard Irby, History of Randolph-Macon College, Virginia, Richmond: Whittel 
& Shepperson, 18—, pp. 3, 14-15, 34-35, 1 74-1 75). 

2. Dr. William Wallace Bennett (1821-1887) entered the Virginia Conference in 
approximately 1842. He served as chaplain in the Confederate Army. He went abroad 
and was successful in bringing large numbers of Bibles through the Union nava^l 
blockade. He became editor of the Richmond Christian Advocate in 1866 and served in 
this capacity until 1877, when he was elected president of Randolph-Macon College. He 
resigned because of ill health in 1886 (Irby, History of Randolph-Macon, pp. 203, 265, 
295 ff.). 



feel that I was going where I would be pleasantly acquainted with the 
president of the college. 

The next summer, that of 1881, my father and mother drove to the 
Turlington camp meeting grounds in Accomac County, taking me with 
them. There we stayed for ten days at an old time Methodist camp 
meeting and made many acquaintances. I was given a bed, or rather a 
place to sleep, in the preachers' tent, and there I met all the preachers and 
also Professor William W. Smith, who was making a tour in the interest 
of Randolph-Macon College. He was a very able public speaker, very 
attractive in conversation; and in his private, personal talks with me in 
the preachers' tent he made the college life seem very interesting. 

And just here I think it worth while to record my recollections of the 
camp meeting as I saw it nearly sixty years ago. The Turlington camp 
was situated in nearly the central part of the county of Accomac in an 
intelligent, prosperous community. The people made their living by 
trucking, fishing, and oystering. While they were essentially a church- 
going people, there were very many sinners to be saved, and the yearly 
camp meeting had been found to be not only a means of grace to the 
church members but a harvest time for sinners young and old. All the 
leading families for miles around had tents and carried their beds, cook- 
ing utensils, food, and servants to the camp. There were two or three 
large boarding tents, where good meals and a clean mattress on hard 
boards could be gotten at a moderate price. 

The camp was usually held in August after all the crops had been 
laid by. The preaching tent was seated with rough boards without backs 
and held an incalculable number of people. The camp began usually on 
Friday and lasted ten days. The presiding elder of the district had 
charge of the preaching services and brought to the camp the ablest 
preachers of the Conference whom he could secure. There was preaching 
morning and night, with afternoon meetings of various kinds, but the 
main preaching was at night and three times on Sunday. The substance 
of the preaching was the same as I have indicated we had in our home 
church. There was somewhat more pressure brought to bear upon the 
church members to bestir themselves to hunt out the sinners, and 
stronger, more impassioned appeals to the sinners to forsake their sins 
and turn to God. As the meeting progressed, fathers and mothers rose 
from their seats and went out in search of their children, sometimes even 
as far as buggies parked on the edge of the row of tents. It was the usual 
thing for penitents to come all the way forward to the mourner's bench 
at the front, where preachers and church workers talked and prayed 
with them, but many knelt with church workers at their seats. 


As the meeting progressed the interest steadily increased. The at- 
mosphere was laden with cries of penitents and prayers. That there was 
some excitement, I will not deny. Some mothers and fathers sometimes 
shouted praises to God at the conversion of their children. Sometimes 
there was a sweeping outburst of hallelujahs, followed by prayer and 
song, when some well-known sinner made profession of faith, but I never 
saw either at the Turlington or at the Marvin Grove camp ground any- 
thing not entirely warranted by the Scriptural idea of joy over the re- 
pentance and salvation of sinners. When we consider today how the 
whole nation is stirred by the kidnaping or loss of a child and the joy 
that is manifested when it is recovered, surely there should be far more 
distress over the moral ruin and sinfulness of our friends and children 
and far greater joy at their salvation than is shown generally by our pres- 
ent day Christians. 

As I look back memory brings up vivid pictures, especially of those 
camp-meeting nights — the dimly lighted tabernacle with filled benches, 
with men standing in crowds around the edge of the tabernacle, with 
people seated in buggies and wagons in the row outside where the 
preacher's voice could be easily heard; with the singing which swelled 
from the pathetic to the triumphant; with the sermon argumentative, 
condemnatory, hortatory, gradually reaching its climax of clear, strong, 
sharp warning [and of] earnest, frequently pathetic, appeal, closing with 
the invitation, "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found. Call ye upon 
Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the un- 
righteous man his thoughts and let him return unto God who will 
abundantly pardon"; frequent, fervent "Amens" accompanying the ser- 
mon; the preachers in the pulpit, the singers and the entire congregation 
joining in some familiar hymn like "Arise My Soul, Arise, Shake Off 
Thy Guilty Fears." 

Yes, there was nothing dull in a Sunday night camp-meeting service. 
There was intense earnestness, a real, unconcealed effort to stir the 
emotions of the hearers to compel men to think of "righteousness, tem- 
perance, and judgment to come," to arouse fear at the consequences of 
open and hidden sins, and to picture the blessedness of forgiveness and 
peace with God after a full confession and renunciation of sin. There 
was all this, and doubtless men and women oftentimes did lose control 
of themselves, but not as much as the crowds do today at baseball and 
football games and at political rallies. The camp meetings of those days 
were a religious factor of great value, and we have nothing now to take 
their place and few occasions where there are manifestations of such 
moral spiritual power. . . . 



At last the day came to leave my dear home, to travel by myself alone 
to a place two hundred miles away, and to live by myself apart from 
my father and mother, practically for the the rest of my life. I did not 
fully realize what the parting meant at that time, nor, do I think, did 
they; but I am sure they understood the situation far better than I 
did. ... 

I arrived at Ashland in the afternoon feeling very much alone and, as 
I got off the train, was greeted by a large group of students with shouts 
of "Fish, Fish," which was the salutation for all new students. The col- 
lege porter spotted me, took my satchel on his shoulder, and led the way 
to the office of the registrar, Professor [William A.] Shepard, who was 
affectionately known by the students for forty years as "Old Shep." There, 
having paid my matriculation and tuition fees for the first term, I was 
assigned to a room alone in a very unattractive-looking eight-room cottage 
which was called "Maison Carree". . . . 

The rooms for students were in old buildings which had been trans- 
formed into dormitories. They were quite small, heated usually by a 
soft-coal fire in a grate or a boxwood stove. The largest building had 
been a bowling alley. The buildings were located one on each side of 
the flower garden, and were called "Old Dominion" and "Paradise 
Rows." "Maison Carree" (the square house) had eight good-sized rooms. 
There was another building farther back behind the administration 
building containing about ten rooms which was called the infirmary, 
because there was a room in the building reserved for cases of sickness. 
There were two students in nearly all the rooms. The fine shade trees 
scattered all over the campus gave it a most attractive, restful appearance. 

Not more than half the students roomed on the campus, the others 
boarding in private homes. Sanitary arrangements were very simple. 
Water was brought from the pump on the campus, either by the students 
themselves or by the colored men who cared for the rooms, for which 
service the students paid fi.oo per month, but if a man had twelve or 
fifteen rooms he received ample to board and clothe himself. At least 
half of the students, however, cared for their own rooms. . . . 

In 1 88 1 the enrollment at the college was just about one hundred. 
There was little endowment and there had been left an indebtedness by 
the former administration of about $30,000, which was a heavy millstone 
in those days. The president of the college was Dr. William Wallace 
Bennett, one of the most outstanding leaders of the Virginia Conference 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. At the close of the war, he 
had been requested by the Conference to take over the responsibility of 
the Richmond Christian Advocate, which was burdened by debt, and to 


run the Advocate at his own risk as his own private property. Believing 
that the Advocate was an essential factor in the welfare and growth of 
the Church, he had complied with the request of the Conference, and 
by careful, prudent management had made the Advocate a paying prop- 
erty, and had on his own motion assumed the responsibility for the pay- 
ment of the old debt on the paper. 

On the death of Dr. James A. Duncan, the president of Randolph- 
Macon College, 3 Dr. Bennett had been elected president. He studied the 
situation very carefuly before accepting, but having decided that the 
college was essential to the work of the church, he accepted for the 
second time a debt-burdened responsibility. He decided that the abso- 
lutely essential thing was to relieve the college of the debt, which was a 
blockade to any forward movement. Debt-raising at that time, especially 
for an educational institution, was a difficult task. It was a hand-picking 
process, and was accomplished only by steady, long-continued, wearing 
travel and undaunted, persistent solicitation of the individuals by the 
president in person. . . . Owing to the debt and the meager income, the 
trustees had been obliged to adopt the program of drastic salary reduc- 
tion of president and professors insisted upon by President Bennett. 
Two of the leading professors accepted positions at the University of 
Virginia and one at Washington and Lee University, and young, but 
well-trained men had been elected to fill the vacancies. 4 

Next to the debt the greatest impediment to the growth of the college 
was that of unsatisfactory dormitories. It was impossible to secure any 
large sums of money at that time to erect modern, brick dormitories . . . , 
but Dr. Bennett did secure the funds to erect a row of five eight-room, 
plain but substantial cottages. These cottages were completed in time 
for the second year that I attended the college, and I was fortunate 
enough to secure the second-story, front corner room in the first cottage 
with southern exposure, facing the chapel and the flower garden. Two 
of the professors lived on the campus near the dormitories, so that little 
could be done out of doors without the knowledge of the faculty. The 
other professors lived within easy walking distance of the campus. . . . 

3. The Reverend James A. Duncan (1830-1877) of the class of 1849 at Randolph- 
Macon was elected to the presidency of Randolph-Macon on August 7, 1868. He was 
the first president after the institution was moved from Boydton to Ashland. He resigned 
the presidency in 1875 because of ill health, but accepted re-election. He died Septem- 
ber 24, 1877 (Irby, History of Randolph-Macon, pp. 186, 191). 

4. According to Irby the salary scale in 1876 was changed from $2,500 to $2,000 for 
the president and from $2,000 to $1,600 for professors. They were provided with resi- 
dences in addition to their salaries. Irby indicates that two of the professors, James A. 
Harrison, teacher of Latin and Greek, and Harry Estill, went to Washington and Lee, 
and that Thomas R. Price, professor of English, went to the University of Virginia 
(Irby, History of Randolph-Macon, pp. 241-243, 268). 


The faculty was not large, but the professors were all well-trained 
men, deeply interested in their work and intensely loyal to their president 
and to each other. The small student body brought professors and 
students into unusually close relations. I think every professor could call 
all the students by name, not only in his classroom, but on the campus. 
Moreover, the student body, while small, was made up in the main of 
boys from homes where self-sacrifice was necessary to send the boy to 
college. Consequently most of the students were there for work and 
there was comparatively little dissipation or wild life. I have always 
thought that I could not have had finer training than in those early 
college days at Randolph-Macon. I needed and I appreciated the close 
touch which I had with those few high-grade men, and I always thought 
that the small number of students was my great gain. 

As was the case in most of the Southern colleges at least, the science 
department was not very highly developed. There was not enough 
money to purchase anything but rather elementary equipment in that 
department, which was confined to chemistry and to natural philosophy, 
the most of which latter course I had at Salisbury. But while the work 
in the sciences was limited;, the work in the other departments was of 
high grade. The courses in Latin, Greek, French, German, English, 
mathematics, logic, psychology, moral philosophy, and Biblical literature 
were taught by men who were thoroughly qualified in their subjects, 
and each of them with a personality of his own so distinctive as to have 
his own separate niche in the thoughts and feelings of the students. 

The president was a man of unusually dignified appearance, who 
commanded the respect of the entire student body; indeed many of the 
younger students stood in great awe of him. As a preacher he was very 
thoughtful and impressive, and when thoroughly aroused he "swung 
clear" and preached with great effectiveness. In his classroom work he 
was kindly, interesting, and frequently quite humorous. 

During the first weeks of my college days I received a message to 
come to the president's office. As some pranks had been engaged in, it 
was with some disquietude that I entered the office, but to my great re- 
lief Dr. Bennett took from his drawer a large sheet of paper which was 
ruled vertically and horizontally, giving spaces on the left hand for the 
hours from 6 A.M. until 10 P.M. for each day in the week. The presi- 
dent told me that nothing was of greater importance than to learn early 
in life to have a program for the use of my time. He did not insist that it 
should be so inflexible that it would hamper or curtail unexpected or 
unusual activity or enjoyment, but emphasized that nothing was of 
greater value than time, and nothing was worthy of more planning than 


the use of time. He strongly commended the reading of John Wesley's 
Journal, as indicating how many and various things one man could do 
and what tremendous results would follow the consecration of talents to 
the accomplishment of a great aim. That thirty minutes' conversation 
had a great influence on my future life. Some time has been wasted, no 
doubt, in working out various and impossible programs, but the im- 
portant thought was firmly imbedded that, if time was properly used, 
a great variety of things could be accomplished. 

Randolph-Macon had adopted a modified form of the elective system 
of credits. While students were not allowed to follow every whim they 
might have, yet specialization was possible, and if there seemed to be 
reason for it, it was encouraged. In consultation with Professor Black- 
well, who had the chair of English and Modern Languages, I worked 
out a course for the A.B. degree in three years and for the A.M. degree 
in four or five years, depending upon the number of extra courses taken 
not required for the degree. My preparation at Salisbury High School 
had been so thorough that I found no difficulty in carrying on any of 
the work. I specialized in Latin, English, and mathematics, with logic 
and psychology as a close second. I had no intention of taking Biblical 
literature, including systematic theology and church history, when I 
originally mapped out my course. They came into the program later. 

It would probably not be true to say that there was no homesickness 
in the first days, but it did not reach the point of brooding or of idle, 
useless longing for home, although there were many very lonesome 
hours and days. I had learned to restrain and to repress any public ex- 
hibition of my feelings, and reckless or even random speech had never 
been characteristic of my home life. 5 While naturally more interested 
in persons than in things and fond of good company, I was careful in my 
choice of associates and very careful indeed in making close friendships. 
The memory of two or three bad associates in my boyhood was a very 
decidedly restraining influence in my college days. I never stayed in a 
group where foul language or filthy stories were indulged in, and I 
thought that swearing and cursing were not only wicked but were utterly 
silly and vulgar. 

My father paid all college fees and sent me $25 monthly, out of 
which I paid only $10 monthly for table board and had the rest for books 
and incidentals and to use as I pleased. While there were a few students 
who had a larger monthly check than I had, yet there were not many 

5. This sentence, although factually correct, has been taken from Cannon's draft 
written in the third person, and has consequently been somewhat changed in order to 
read in the first person. 



who were better able to do what they wanted to do. As a matter of fact, 
I began to save some money out of my allowance, after I had spent what 
was necessary to furnish my room comfortably. . . . 

I joined the Washington Literary Society two weeks after entering 
college and was an active participant in all the work of the society during 
my college life. There were several sharp clashes between the fraternity 
and nonfraternity members of the Hall, 6 and sometimes both sides vio- 
lated the principles of fair play. Boys who were entirely worthy of official 
position in the Hall, or of selection to speak on public occasions or at 
commencement, were rejected purely on partisan grounds, and others 
elected who were not as worthy. While myself a fraternity man, I did 
not approve of such partisan conduct and frequently voted with the 
nonfraternity group. 

My devotion to the interests of the Hall and my active participation 
in the literary programs of declamation, debates, and orations naturally 
gave me some prominence in the Hall life. Whenever I was appointed 
to declaim, to debate, or to deliver an oration, I never tried to beg off 
but I always said frankly that I enjoyed the work, that I was glad when 
my time came around. The society honored me by appointing me as 
one of the debaters at the annual public debate in 1883, when the question 
was discussed as to whether justice was more likely to be secured by a 
trial before a jury or before a bench of judges. My partner and I spoke 
in favor of the judges and won the debate. . . . 7 

One of the outstanding men in the Washington Hall life was Claude 
A. Swanson, afterwards governor of Virginia, United States congress- 
man and senator from Virginia, and later Secretary of the Navy. 8 Swan- 
son roomed in Cottage No. 1, directly across from me, and we became 
very intimate friends. Swanson had been sent to Randolph-Macon by 
friends who hoped that he would become a Methodist preacher, but he 
became acquainted with the Honorable Richard F. Berne, the owner and 
editor of the Richmond Evening State, who lived in Ashland, and who 
became greatly interested in Swanson and stimulated his political aspira- 
tions. I talked with him about the matter several times and urged him 
to enter the ministry, for I believe that he could have rendered a great 

6. Washington Literary Society. 

7. Cannon won a number of medals for public speaking while at Randolph-Macon. 
He lost out in a contest for the Sutherlin medal for oratory to James A. Duncan, the son 
of the former president of the college. Cannon stated that this loss "had quite a salutary 
effect upon my thinking and upon my estimate of myself and my abilities." 

8. Claude A. Swanson (1862-1939) graduated from Randolph-Macon in 1885, was 
governor of Virginia (1906-1910), was elected U. S. congressman in 1893, was re-elected 
until he resigned in 1905. He was appointed senator in 1910 and re-elected until 1933, 
when he resigned to become Secretary of the Navy in F. D. Roosevelt's cabinet. 


service as a Methodist preacher. He always listened with interest, but the 
urge for the political life won the day. 

A few weeks after the college opened, the Sigma Chi fraternity asked 
me to become a member of the Gamma Gamma chapter of that fra- 
ternity. The chapter was not large, having only eight men, all of whom 
at that time were of excellent standing in the college. Simple but ap- 
petizing suppers were had at the meetings, but no intoxicants were 
allowed in the fraternity room, and there was very little smoking. Two 
years later one or two of the new men did use intoxicants outside of 
the clubroom, and occasionally drank so much beer and sometimes other 
stronger liquors that they became intoxicated and were in danger of 
expulsion, as the college regulations were very strict on that subject. 

While despising the liquor traffic, I have always tried to be patient 
with its victims, especially my friends, and I did what I could to help 
them when they were in trouble. Word was brought to me one night 
that one of our fraternity men was very drunk outside of one of the 
saloons in the town. Another clubmate and I went down and found him, 
and with great difficulty persuaded him to come without much noise to 
my room on the campus. Just as we reached the turnstile, a faculty meet- 
ing which had been in session at the president's house only a few yards 
away broke up. Two of the professors were coming down the sidewalk 
just across from the stile. It was hard to decide what to do, but quickly, 
in desperation, the drunken classmate was raised to sit on the stile, and 
my sober classmate and I engaged in animated conversation. The pro- 
fessors went by only fifteen feet away. We bowed and saluted. The pro- 
fessors returned the salutation and walked on. The classmate was carried 
to the bedroom in triumph, but informed the next morning that if he 
ever did anything like that again he would be doused in the water tank 
instead of being put to bed. 

On several occasions I was sent for to come to the room of a frater- 
nity mate or classmate who was gloriously drunk and beyond control. 
While not large or of athletic build, I was quick and active in all my 
movements for the work on the farm had toughened my muscles. In a 
college community the size of Randolph-Macon the boys soon learned 
to appraise each other. In a very short while it was well understood 
that while I was not a member of the church, yet I did not smoke, drink, 
gamble, swear, or tell dirty stories. Because I was always one of the best- 
dressed men on the campus, allowed nothing to interfere with thorough 
preparation of my classroom work, and never would run around at night 
to engage in horse play, ... I was thought of at first as "stuck-up" and 
unsociable, and branded by some of the students as a "sissy." But before 



long it was realized that I was really of a very sociable disposition, 
sympathetic with boys in trouble, spending money to help them if 
necessary, and while I would not engage in pranks which I thought were 
too rough and destructive of clothes, books, or other things, I was in 
college parlance "a good sport." 

But that which won me the greatest respect, I think, was that under 
any and all conditions I had shown myself to be frank and fearless. 
Consequently, when a friend had gotten "gloriously" drunk and was 
beyond control of roommates or other friends, a message was usually 
sent to me to come to the rescue to help to suppress the uproar so as to 
prevent the noise from disturbing the professors in the near-by homes, 
causing the summoning of students to the president's office the next 

My entry into the room nearly always had a subduing effect upon 
the offender. If he was inclined, however, to be violent and refused to 
abate the uproar which he was making, with the help of others I usually 
got him flat on his back on the floor, and while others held his arms 
and legs, I sat on his stomach. If that was not effective, some emetic was 
poured down his throat, which speedily caused an eruption from his 
stomach of the sour beer or other intoxicants. When all the fight had 
been taken out of him, I usually held his head while he got rid of all the 
remnants of his debauch. Sometimes to secure more lasting penitence a 
heavy dose of castor oil was administered. . . . 

These experiences of the effect of the liquor traffic upon my friends 
increased my hatred of it. It showed that liquor sellers, even as quiet and 
well behaved as those at Ashland, were more concerned about their 
profits than about anything else and that they made no special effort to 
prevent the students of the college securing intoxicants contrary to the 
law and to their best interests as students. . . . 

It so happened that Dr. Bennett, the president of the college, and 
Professor W. W. Smith, professor of Greek and ethics, were both active 
opponents of the liquor traffic. 9 Dr. Bennett issued a tract called The 
Great Red Dragon, which was one of the strongest, most sweeping in- 
dictments of the traffic in those earlier days. As joint editors, they issued 
a monthly paper called the Southern Crusader, which was distributed 
at nominal cost all over the state of Virginia. In order to save expense, 
the Crusader was folded, wrapped, and addressed by Dr. Bennett's 
daughters, one or two other young ladies, and four or five students, of 

9. Professor W. W. Smith was "elected to have charge of Latin and Greek" in 1882 
and succeeded Bennett to the presidency of Randolph-Macon in 1886 (Irby, History of 
Randolph-Macon, p. 278). 


whom I was one. The Crusader was very ably edited, packed full of 
information concerning the damnable effects of the traffic, and with 
pungent articles to stir the people of the state. The paper was continued 
throughout my college days and kept me fully abreast of the best prohi- 
bition thought and activity of the time. 

As a result of the sentiment created in Virginia by the Crusader and 
other agencies, a great petition was secured and brought in 1885 to the 
General Assembly of Virginia demanding the passage of a local-option 
law granting to town, city, and country districts the right to vote upon 
the licensing of the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquor. 10 The 
legislature granted the petition, and the local-option law was passed. 
Thus, as a young student throughout my college days, I felt myself as, in 
a sense, part of the firing line, not expecting that I would ever be called 
upon to active leadership against the traffic twenty years later. 

Dr. Bennett, as one of the recognized leaders of Southern Methodism, 
had been sent as a delegate to the first Ecumenical Conference of world- 
wide Methodism, which was held in London in September, 1881. He 
took with him to Europe his wife and two oldest daughters, and visited 
some of the countries on the continent before the Ecumenical Conference 
met. Owing to his absence in Europe, he was not present at the opening 
of the college session in September, 1881, when I entered college. He 
returned home about October 1 and was met at the train by the faculty, 
their families, and almost the entire student body. It was not a very 
common thing to go to Europe in those days, even for a college president. 

The railroad station was not more than two or three hundred feet 
from the college turnstile. The train was a few minutes ahead of time, 
and when I reached the turnstile, Dr. Bennett, his wife, and two daugh- 
ters were coming across the railroad track, going to the president's house, 
which was not more than forty or fifty yards from the turnstile. It was 
a somewhat drizzly day and I had on my black rubber raincoat and a 
black rubber hat. I seated myself on the turnstile where I could have a 
close view of everybody who went along to the president's house. I had 
seen Dr. Bennett before but not the ladies of the family. 

As I was looking with some interest at what was going on, my eye 
was suddenly arrested by a very attractive young lady walking behind 
Dr. Bennett. Turning to shake hands, she smiled and laughed very 
happily at remarks which had come to her from friends in the crowds 

10. House Bill 98 "to provide for the submitting the question of liquor license to the 
qualified voters of the several counties, corporations and magisterial districts of the 
State" was passed Feb. 25, 1886 {House, Journal and Documents, Virginia, 1 885-1 886, 
pp. 488-490, 494). 


in front and following. Just as she got opposite the turnstile, her eye 
caught the odd-looking figure seated upon it with raincoat dragging 
around his dangling legs and the ugly, ridiculous hat on his head. Her 
face expanded in a broad smile, but before she ceased to look at the 
student, their eyes caught each other in a steady gaze. The family passed 
on to the president's house. I watched them until the figure of the girl 
was no longer in sight, and then, turning, I walked slowly to my room. 
Closing the door, I sat down in a chair, and after a few minutes I said 
aloud to myself, "That is the girl I am going to marry." From that hour 
there was never any other thought, and although many hurdles had to be 
surmounted before the marriage of the seventeen-year-old young people 
was finally consummated, it did take place about seven years later on 
August i, 1888. 

I had always enjoyed the society of girls. At home I went con- 
tinuously with my sister's friends, all three or four years older than I 
was. I also went with a number of girls my own age, and had a number 
of successive sweethearts. At home, from time to time, I imagined my- 
self to be deeply in love. Judging my girl friends by my mother and 
sister, I had always put them somewhat on a pedestal and had never 
indulged in any familiarities, either of speech or of conduct, as was the 
the custom with some young people. Although it is true that some of 
the games played by the young people when I was a boy included open 
kissing as the main objective of the game, I played those open, public 
games when girls I liked were playing; otherwise I did not, as there 
were some girls I had no desire to kiss. Whatever may have been my 
boyhood faults, I was never conceited as to my looks, nor did I ever 
think of myself as a lady-killer. As a matter of fact, however, I was very 
popular with the limited circle of girls in my school classes, and I as- 
sociated with very few others except my cousins at Pocomoke and in 

But now I realized that I was in for an entirely different experience 
from anything heretofore, and I was shy and uncertain as to what course 
to pursue. As has been stated, I had a voice of somewhat more than 
average sweetness and strength, and was soon asked by Professor and 
Mrs. Shepard, the leaders of the singing at the chapel services, to join 
the choir. That opened the way, for both Misses Mary Lee and Lura 
Virginia Bennett were members of the choir, and I was introduced to 
them at choir practice. Miss Mary Lee Bennett sang alto and Miss Lura 
sang soprano. As I sang somewhat a mixture of baritone and tenor, I 
soon managed to line up on the soprano side, and frequently not only 
sang next to Miss Lura but sometimes sang out of the same book. I 


found that the young lady, while not yet eighteen years of age, had been 
exceedingly popular with the students for the past two or three years, 
and that she had several open admirers. It so happened that two or three 
of these admirers were members of my own Sigma Chi fraternity, of 
which fraternity Richard H. Bennett, the oldest Bennett son, was also 
a member. The first regular call was made in company with one of the 
other Sigma Chi admirers and was so enjoyable that it was protracted 
beyond all proper lengths. From that time we saw each other with in- 
creasing frequency, and before the college year was over, both had begun 
to realize that each was becoming an important factor in the life of the 
other. . . . 

Lura Bennett combined in an unusual manner the best qualities of 
both her father and mother. . . . Already at seventeen years she had a 
clear Christian experience to which she referred very helpfully from 
time to time at the Sunday afternoon class meetings in the college chapel. 
She taught a class of boys in the Sunday School and made very effective 
public prayers when called upon to do so. Her faith in God was already 
almost a necessary part of her thinking. She had accepted Jesus Christ 
as her Saviour from sin and as the Lord and Master of her life. Nothing 
ever interfered with that loyalty from her girlhood to the day of her 
death. None who knew her well ever thought of her doing anything 
which she did not think to be right. For forty-six years, from the time 
I first saw her from the college turnstile, she was the most potent human 
influence in my life. And as it is said of Abel, she "being dead yet 
speaketh." Like my father and mother, she stands out as one of the 
greatest personalities in my life, a never-dying influence through time 
and eternity. . . . 

When I entered Randolph-Macon College, it was with the distinct 
purpose to train myself for law, and my ambition [was] not to be simply a 
trial lawyer, but to reach the bench at as early a date as possible, with 
the hope of ultimately being appointed a justice of the Supreme Court 
of the United States. It was one of my greatest pleasures to read great 
speeches delivered in the courts and outstanding opinions from the 
bench. I specialized in Latin and English to secure a more comprehen- 
sive vocabulary and a more discriminating use of words. . . . 

At the end of my second year I was elected editor of the Randolph- 
Macon Monthly, which post I held for the last two years of my college 
life. When I was elected editor and business manager the Monthly was 
several hundred dollars in debt, and it seemed that it would be impossible 
for it to continue. . . . After a thorough study of the possible revenues 
of the paper, I agreed with the printers that if they would agree to print 


the paper, I would make monthly settlements and would pledge myself 
to put forth special effort to raise the outstanding deficit, although none 
could be held responsible for that except the publisher of the previous 
year, who had left college and the state. This contract was carried out 
and the Monthly was successfully operated until June, 1885. The back 
debt was paid according to promise out of surplus from the operations 
of the two years and by money raised by special entertainments of 
various kinds given in the college chapel. While it was not my ex- 
pectation to make any money out of the Monthly, yet by active canvass- 
ing for advertising and collection of subscriptions I did get a fair sum 
in addition to fine training for my two years' labor. In 1 884-1 885 the 
executive committee of the Monthly offered a prize of fifty dollars for the 
five best articles published by any one contributor in the Monthly, the 
prize to be awarded by a committee of the faculty. I was glad to have 
the prize awarded to me because just about that time I was having some 
unusual expense. . . . 

I obtained my A.B. degree at the commencement of 1884, but con- 
tinued over for another year to do work on the Master's degree and to 
take some courses in Greek and Biblical literature. And this indicates 
what had happened to me during my college life. In the winter of 1882 
a series of revival meetings was held in the college chapel, the preaching 
and the exhortation being done by Dr. John Hannon. 11 Dr. Hannon 
was the most unusual personality who had appeared in the Virginia 
Conference since the war. He was an Alabamian by birth and had come 
to Randolph-Macon for his training and had remained as a preacher in 
the Virginia Conference. He was transparently honest. No one, prob- 
ably, ever doubted his sincerity. As a preacher he had no model. No one 
has ever preached like him before or since. His sermons were replete 
with unusual figures of speech, with anecdotes, and with imaginary 
dialogues which were the product of the brilliant Hannon mind. He was 
a man of extraordinary, childlike faith and of great spirituality, but he 
had a rare vein of humor that broke out at the most unexpected times. 
He always prayed with his eyes open. 

I was working very hard and did not think I would take the time 
to go to the meetings, but I finally decided that I would go to the 

1 1. The Reverend John Hannon (1845-1921) was born in Montgomery, Alabama, but 
lived in Virginia most of his life. A prominent preacher throughout the South, he was 
noted also for humorous lectures given to raise money for struggling churches {Virginia 
Conference Annual . . . , vol. 131, 1921, pp. 91-92; see also John Hannon; preacher, 
essayist, wit, humorist, Christian. Being the recollections, sermons, sketches, sayings of 
forty-seven years in the itinerant ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Edited 
by Mrs. John Hannon . . . and Rev. D. G. C. Butts . . . , Richmond, Va., 1924). 



first one to hear what this man with this unusual reputation would say. 
After the first night I went to hear every sermon. I was profoundly 
impressed. The truth was presented in such an unusual fashion as to 
stir me to the depths. In those days even at the college the Methodist 
altar was still used. On the fourth night when Dr. Hannon preached on 
Abraham's faith and delivered a remarkable dialogue between the Lord 
and Abraham, I decided that I must settle the question of my eternal 
relation to God and whether I would accept Jesus Christ as my Divine 
Saviour and Master. I went to the altar of prayer along with many 
other students. Professor Blackwell, who was my Sunday School teacher, 
came to the altar and talked with me, but the way was not clear. The 
next night I went again to the altar. Miss Lura Bennett, who had been 
working regularly at the altar, came and talked and prayed with me. 
Her simple, complete trust in Jesus Christ as her Saviour, her direct 
method of approach to God as her Heavenly Father, shed a flood of 
light. I reached my decision and accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour, 
Master, and Lord. The following Sunday I joined the church, telegraph- 
ing the fact briefly to my father and mother. The message, which my 
parents told me was received with more joy than anything that had ever 
come into their lives, was read at the church service on the Sunday 
morning I joined the church. That service of my local home church was 
turned into one of praise and thanksgiving, as the entire membership 
was happy that the son of their loved leaders had decided to become a 
Methodist preacher. The message was: "Have accepted Jesus Christ as 
my Saviour, Lord, and Master. Will join church here Sunday morning. 
Probably ask for license to preach at next Quarterly Conference." 

I fully realized what the decision would mean for my life. That 
realization had kept me from reaching a decision at my home church in 
Salisbury. I knew that, if I ever made a profession of faith, I would have 
to give up my ambition to be a lawyer and a judge, and that I would 
certainly become a Methodist preacher. It happened just that way. I 
joined the church and at the next Quarterly Conference applied for a 
license to preach and was duly licensed in April, 1882. ... I was elected 
by the same Quarterly Conference to be a student steward, and it was at 
once recognized throughout the college that there had been a definite 
change in my life purpose. 

While I was satisfied that I would carry out my purpose and become a 
Methodist preacher, I was unwilling to bind myself except for the local 
ministry. The ministerial students at the college paid no tuition fees, 
and it would have been a saving of seventy-five dollars yearly for tuition 
had I declared myself to be a ministerial student. But I decided not to 


take advantage of that exemption, and my father paid full tuition dur- 
ing my four years at college. As I did not join the band of young minis- 
terial students who preached in the country round about the college, and 
as I paid tuition, there was doubt in the minds of some as to whether 
I really had decided to make the ministry my life work. Furthermore, 
while I was a boy and a man of very strong emotions, yet I had early 
learned from my father to exercise control over myself, and although 
my language might have been expressive of strong convictions and feel- 
ings, yet I rarely lost control of my voice or my facial expression. At the 
weekly Sunday afternoon class meetings my testimony, when it was 
given, was clear and positive, usually somewhat reflective and meditative, 
never ending in a hallelujah or a shout, either on my part or on the part 
of others, as was the case in the testimony of some of the more demon- 
strative class members. I did not form many close friendships among 
the "Bib Lits," as the students for the ministry were called, and I know 
that most of them thought me to be too cold to make an effective Meth- 
odist preacher. 

The decision to study for the ministry considerably affected my course 
of study. I took up the study of Greek, which I had never had before 
and in which I never became as proficient as in Latin. I then decided 
to take an additional year after securing my A.B. degree in order that 
I might take the full course in Biblical literature and church history given 
by the president, Dr. Bennett. This brought me into close contact with 
the man whom I admired and respected more than any other member 
of the faculty. 

Dr. Bennett reminded me somewhat of my father. He was an Is- 
raelite, indeed, in whom there was no guile. His reserve manifested in 
his public contacts was entirely absent with his students in the classroom. 
He had a strong, well-trained mind, fine command of English, and a 
good sense of humor. He was thoroughly grounded in Methodist the- 
ology and history, and fairly so in general church history. I applied my- 
self to the mastery of Wakefield's Theology, the textbook used, reading 
all the lives of John Wesley, John Calvin, Luther, and other great Protes- 
tant leaders which the library contained. While I naturally leaned toward 
the Methodist theological beliefs of my father and mother and of my 
teacher, Dr. Bennett, yet I tried to balance fairly and impartially the 
doctrines of Calvinism and of Unitarianism against those of Wesleyanism 
or Arminianism. I became a great admirer of John Wesley's theology 
as containing all the essentials of Bible teaching and as eliminating the 
theories and speculations and theologians not supported by or contrary 
to the Word of God. I thought then and think now that Butler's Anal- 


ogy was the greatest book I ever studied, and it was of more value to 
me than the entire course o£ logic. 

There was developed in all those studies a demand, indeed almost a 
passion, for intellectual sincerity which has been a tremendous factor 
in my writing, thinking, and conduct throughout my life. Unless I could 
convince myself that a position was right, that it satisfied the demands 
of my mental processes for accuracy and truth, no matter how great 
pressure there might be of a personal nature on the other side, I could 
never speak nor argue for it. I have occasionally remained quiet in the dis- 
cussion of a matter where my friends were involved and where they were 
on the side which I did not approve, but I thoroughly agreed with St. 
Paul "that every man be thoroughly persuaded in his own mind." It 
was the strength of my personal conviction of right and truth in positions 
which I took in print or in public speaking which gave me whatever 
strength and effectiveness I had in private and public discussion and 
argument. I had three years more of theological training at Princeton, 
but the last year at Randolph-Macon, with its close personal contacts with 
Dr. Bennett in a small class, gave me a solid doctrinal foundation upon 
which to build in later years. 

During my third year at college the reading of a large amount of 
German parallel developed a latent astigmatism of the eyes which 
effectually blocked my entire class work. Oculists were very rare in 
those days, but Dr. Joseph A. White, a native of Baltimore, with thorough 
training in Baltimore and France, had just opened his office in Rich- 
mond. He speedily diagnosed my trouble and prescribed the necessary 
glasses and stated, with a positiveness which was characteristic of him, 
that I would have to wear spectacles the rest of my life. . . . Dr. White 
was a Roman Catholic, born and bred in the strong Roman Catholic 
atmosphere of Baltimore. Moreover, he was distinctly a society man, a 
member of clubs, and enjoyed dancing, fox hunting, and kindred sports. 
But he had a directness of speech and a transparent sincerity which 
appealed to me very greatly; and a friendship was formed which con- 
tinued throughout the years, Dr. White treating my own family and 
scores of college students whom I brought to him from Blackstone Col- 
lege. We never discussed Roman Catholicism or Protestantism or the 
liquor traffic or other subjects on which we had decided differences of 
opinion. Each fully understood the other's position and there was never 
any breach of the friendship begun in 1883, even during the campaign 
for prohibition in Virginia in 191 4 or the Anti-Smith campaign in 1928. 
Dr. White was a very fine type of Roman Catholic . . . and I am distinctly 
the better for the care which he gave to my eyesight through many years. 


During my Randolph-Macon college days the great Moody and 
Sankey meeting was held in Richmond. 12 There was much debate, in- 
deed considerable sharp discussion, as to whether an invitation should 
be extended to these "Yankee evangelists" to hold a meeting in Rich- 
mond. There was much opposition among certain classes of society, 
and even some of those who did not doubt the sincerity of the evangelists 
were uncertain as to the wisdom of inviting them to carry on a meeting 
in Richmond. Finally the matter was settled, the pastors of the leading 
denominations united in support of the meetings, and the armory, the 
largest building in the city, was secured and filled, many attending the 
meetings ready, if not eager, to find occasion for criticism. But however 
it may have been with others, I was won at the first meeting. 

I have not been able to think of Dwight L. Moody from the time I 
heard him in Richmond till his death except as a man sent by God to 
teach and to preach in plain, simple language the message of salvation 
from sin and saving faith in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. His 
manner and method were a distinct revelation and produced a profound 
impression upon me. There was an utter absence of any attempt at 
elocution or oratory. From the time he began to speak until he closed, 
he was the embodiment of earnestness, but his style was what I should 
call distinctly conversational. His strength lay in his ability to expound 
and apply the Scripture to the hearts of his hearers. He had an amazing 
power of homely illustration, telling incidents out of his own experience, 
tying up his thoughts convincingly with some Scripture text. His appeals 
for decision to lead the Christian life, while never overwrought, were 
delivered with an earnestness of conviction which compelled men and 
women to face their own personal responsibility. There was no attempt 
at fine speech, no building up a rhetorical climax, but a reading of the 
Scripture to be expounded, followed by a bringing out of the truth 
contained therein in simple, plain fashion, with such earnestness of man- 
ner and evident personal conviction of the truth of his message that he 
produced a more profound impression upon the great mass of his hearers 
than the most finished, polished pulpit orators of the day. 

My whole idea of preaching was affected by the preaching of Mr. 
Moody, not only in the Richmond meeting, but in many other meetings 
which I attended whenever he was near enough and I could get the 

12. D. L. Moody opened a series of religious meetings in Richmond on Jan. 4, 1885. 
Apparently there had been some anti-Moody feeling in Richmond prior to these meetings 
because of some remarks that he was supposed to have made about Robert E. Lee and 
Stonewall Jackson. At the first meeting, however, Moody praised the two Confederate 
soldiers. All meetings were well attended, and finally "admission had to be by ticket" 
(W. Asbury Christian, Richmond, Her Past and Present, Richmond, 1912, p. 389). 


time. I have heard him speak on the same platform at Northfield with 
outstanding church leaders whom he had brought there, and no matter 
who they were, his talk was always the high spot of the occasion. . . . 

In the spring of 1885 the unexpected happened and changed entirely 
the course of my future student life. ... In 1884 the Solid South and 
sufficient Northern states voted for the election of Grover Cleveland, the 
first Democratic president to be elected since 1856. He was inaugurated 
in March, 1885. The Southern people were all astir, greatly delighted 
and excited over the Democratic victory, and along with Democrats 
from all over the country the South poured into Washington to celebrate 
their victory. 

My father, an ardent Democrat all his life and a sympathizer with 
the South all through the war, took the entire family to Washington 
and hired a window on Pennsylvania Avenue to see the procession go 
backward and forward from the White House to the Capitol. I went 
up from Randolph-Macon to meet them and enjoyed to the full my 
participation in the political celebration. Rain fell steadily the greater 
part of the day, increasing toward nightfall, until, when the time came 
for the great display of fireworks in the lot in front of the White House, 
water was standing two or three inches deep everywhere and over my 
shoe tops in some places. Filled with enthusiasm, however, I very 
thoughtlessly stood in the water for at least two hours. When I re- 
turned to college the next day, I had a severe attack of congestion of 
the lungs which left me with a severe, racking cough, confining me to 
bed for several weeks. My improvement was very slow, and it seemed 
as though the cold had settled firmly upon my lungs. It was with great 
difficulty that I was able to attend lectures sufficiently to secure passing 
grades in my work. Only my previous fine record and the work I had 
done during the first term enabled me to do so. 

I consulted Dr. Hunter McGuire, the celebrated surgeon of Stonewall 
Jackson during the war and the outstanding personality in Richmond 
medical life. With his customary frankness Dr. McGuire told me that 
I had incipient tuberculosis (or consumption as he called it then), and 
that my only hope to get well was to go to some climate like Asheville, 
North Carolina, to secure board in a house where I could sleep out on 
the porch in the open air, have rich, nourishing food, and walk as much 
as possible. He said it would require several months or a year to get 
back to anything like normal, and I realized that he did not think that 
I would recover my health at all. But I had inherited an optimistic 
disposition from my mother, and while anxious to get Dr. McGuire's 


advice and willing to follow it, yet I did not agree that he was a good 
prophet. . . . 

Immediately upon the close of college [in 1885], without going home, 
I went to Asheville, North Carolina, where my mother and my sister 
Virginia had already preceded me. My sister had been caught in a 
severe thunderstorm with heavy rain in Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, 
and was so thoroughly chilled before she could get the proper change of 
clothing that she contracted, like myself, a very severe cold. Not antici- 
pating anything serious, she was married a few days later to Mr. Isaac 
Jackson. Shortly afterward she developed a distinct case of tuberculosis. 
She had been taking treatments of various kinds and now decided to 
go to Asheville for the climate. 13 

I was determined that I would get well. I arrived at Asheville in such 
a feeble condition that I had to be carried from the train to the hack 
which took me to the house where my sister was already located. But, 
following Dr. McGuire's instructions, I insisted on walking on the 
porch for about fifty feet the first day. The second day I doubled it, 
and so added feet and then yards until I was walking from a quarter 
to a half a mile a day. I ate just as much nourishing food as my stomach 
would digest. There were many ups and downs. Coughing spells tore 
up my rest at night, greatly weakening me and threatening to destroy 
all the gain which I had made. But I persisted, and gradually made 
short excursions into the surrounding country, sleeping out of doors as 
much as possible with my body warmly wrapped so that I should not 
be chilled by the night air. . . . 

I remained in western North Carolina from the first of June until 
the last of September. Before I left I had gone to Mt. Pisgah, Brevard, 
and Caesar's Head, and I spent the last week of my stay in the Blowing 
Rock country, walking from Lenoir to the Blowing Rock Hotel, a 
distance I think of about twenty-one miles, with a good-sized pack on 
my back. As I look back on it now, I am really surprised that I per- 
sisted and won out. The first few weeks were so discouraging; the 
improvement was so slight and not apparent in my feelings; fatigue and 
weariness haunted my feeble, staggering footsteps; but I simply could 
not agree at any time that the work which I had done to prepare myself 
to be a Methodist preacher should be wasted. I felt certain that sooner 
or later I would get back my strength and do the work which I had 
planned to do. My experience in those days and at later times in my 

13. Cannon's older brother George had earlier developed "a weakness of the throat 
and lungs" and had moved to Colorado. 


life has convinced me of the tremendous power which the will has 
over health and disease, over life and death. . . . 

Following out the advice of Dr. McGuire, 14 I made a full investiga- 
tion as to schools, and finally decided to attend Princeton Theological 
Seminary and to take courses in the university sufficient to complete 
the work for my master's degree. Owing to the condition of my health 
and the need for a continuance of good nourishing food, I arranged 
for board and a room alone with a private family at what was then 
the very high rate of thirty dollars per month (compared with ten 
dollars per month for good table board at Randolph-Macon). I had 
saved some money, and the seminary furnished a scholarship of one 
hundred and fifty dollars per year. But my father, always desiring me 
to have whatever was really necessary, wrote me that he would continue 
to send me twenty-five dollars per month, so that notwithstanding the 
high rate which I was to pay for room and board, I figured that I 
would be able to get through the year comfortably. 

When I left Asheville in the latter part of September, I went by 
Richmond to see Dr. Hunter McGuire for a thorough physical examina- 
tion. He was literally amazed at the great improvement in my condition, 
especially in my great increase in chest expansion, which had reached 
over five inches. He heartily approved of the Princeton plan. Of course, 
I went by Randolph-Macon to discuss my plans with Dr. Bennett, who 
agreed that Princeton was the best choice under all the circumstances, 
and upon my request he gave me a short list of books that he thought I 
might read to advantage along with the regular Calvinistic seminary 
course. Miss Lura rejoiced with me in the apparently complete re- 
covery of my health, and it was agreed between us that there should be 
one long weekly letter to each other, which promise was delightfully 
kept during the three Princeton years. 

My stay at home with my father and mother was all too short. I 
was nearly twenty-one years old. During my four years at Randolph- 
Macon, although there had been a breaking up of many associations, 
I had returned home every summer, had slipped easily into the home, 
social, and church life, taking charge of my mother's pet mare again 
and taking up whatever work I could do in connection with my father's 
business. The best part of two summers I had been in charge of the 
canning factories which my father had opened, one in Salisbury and 
one at the farther river farm. This work had brought me in contact 
with scores of workers, young and old, and had given me a very good 

14. McGuire had advised Cannon not to enter either Boston University or North- 
western University because of an unfavorable climate. 


cross-section of human nature at work on wages. My sense o£ justice 
and fair play impelled me to try to see both the employer's and the 
employees's standpoint. I discovered that small things often caused 
more friction than larger ones, and I was a very successful adjuster 
of disputes arising in the fields among the pickers of peas, tomatoes, 
and berries, and in the canning factories among those who prepared 
the fruits and vegetables for canning. . . . My father paid me a good 
salary in fair proportion to that paid others with equal responsibility, and 
the experience thus gained was a great value to me in carrying on my 
varied forms of work in later years. 

Although constantly importuned to do so, I declined to preach or 
to lead any services in the Sunday School or church. Indeed, while I had 
definitely committed myself in my own mind to the life and work of a 
Methodist preacher since the time when I had joined the church at 
Randolph-Macon in February, 1882, I had never led any religious service 
or taken any prominent part in one, except to lead in prayer occasionally, 
to speak in class meetings, and to teach a Sunday School class in the 
college the last three years at Randolph-Macon. Temperamentally and by 
habit, it was difficult for me to discuss personal matters except with my 
close friends, and up to the close of my Randolph-Macon days I did 
little personal religious work except at the time of the Moody meeting 
in Richmond. . . . 


S eminary and college life at Princeton was the beginning of a distinct 
epoch in my life. To leave home and go among strangers a second time 
was not in itself a matter of very much moment, but my four years 
of college life had been spent among Southern people and Methodist 
people. I was by study, conviction, and association a States' Rights 
Democrat. I firmly believed that the Dred Scott decision was in ac- 
cordance with the Constitution of the United States, and was the only 
decision which the Supreme Court could have rendered and still main- 
tained its intellectual integrity. Moreover, I was fully satisfied that but 
for the great folly of the Democratic party in splitting itself up into 
three parts and thus permitting the election of the Republican candidate, 
there never would have been any secession or any Civil War. 

While I believed that every state had the right to secede from the 
Union, I thought it was a great mistake and very unwise for any to 
have done so. I believed with many of the outstanding Southern lead- 
ers, especially of Virginia, that the slaves should be freed in some method 


4 1 

to be found to compensate the owners. I had no sympathy or patience 
whatever with the hotheads of South Carolina who had fired on Fort 
Sumter and furnished the pretext for the calling of troops, which had 
precipitated the secession of Virginia, the surrender of his commission 
in the Federal Army by General Robert E. Lee, and an answering call 
for troops by the Confederacy to defend the Southern states from in- 
vasion. But like my father I believed in the righteousness of the South- 
ern cause, and gloried in the courage of my [future] father-in-law, Dr. 
Bennett, in running the blockade to get Bibles for the Southern soldiers. 

I had lived through my boyhood and youth in a border town where 
Southern Democrats were largely in the majority, although as far as 
Methodism was concerned, the Northern and Southern Methodist 
Churches [there] were nearly equal in strength. But these churches 
were almost like the Jews and the Samaritans, having little dealings 
with each other, and when the Southern Methodist Church was closed, 
our members rarely indeed went to the Northern Methodist Church, 
but to the Presbyterian, Methodist Protestant, or Episcopal Church. The 
sight of a Northern Methodist in our Southern Methodist Church was 
commented upon for many days. Moreover, when I went to college 
in Virginia, I lived among people dominated entirely by the Southern 
viewpoint, and the college life of four years was lived in a distinctively 
Southern Methodist atmosphere. I heard and I read little but Southern 
Methodist talk and teaching. Other churches existed in the newspapers 
and in books, but they were not practical factors in daily living. At 
the age of twenty-one I was distinctly a convinced Southern Democrat 
and an equally convinced Southern Methodist. 

These conditions were greatly changed at Princeton. While Prince- 
ton College had always been a favorite Northern institution with South- 
ern people and before the war had a large patronage from the South, 
and while there was still a kindly feeling toward the Southern people, 
the faculties of both the college and the seminary were almost entirely 
Northern men. In the seminary student body practically the only 
Southern men were some Northern Presbyterians from Kentucky, and 
there were more men from the Canadian Provinces than there were 
from South of Mason's and Dixon's line. All the seminary faculty but 
two were Republicans. Of these two, one was a British subject, and 
the other was a lone Democrat who was regarded with some curiosity. 
In the college there were more Southern students and a fair proportion 
of Democrats, but most of the faculty were Republicans. At the boarding 
house where I lived during my first year the family and all the other 
boarders were strong Republicans. It was difficult for them to accept 


the Cleveland administration without frequent caustic criticism, which 
sometimes provoked positive dissent on my part and consequent ex- 
pression of disagreement. 

There was a Methodist church in the town but the membership was 
not large, and it was overshadowed by the college, the seminary, and 
two large Presbyterian churches. I attended the Methodist church some- 
times at night and became fairly well acquainted with one or two of 
the leading families; but the pastors of the Methodist church were all 
Republicans who frequently illustrated their sermons with incidents 
from the war or from the life of Lincoln, forgetting absolutely, as I 
sometimes told them, to say anything about the Northern carpetbaggers 
and the Republican scalawags. . . . 

The young Methodist from the South was in an entirely different 
atmosphere, both politically and theologically, but the change of scenes 
and the clash of opinions proved to be good for my steady development. 

In physical equipment Princeton College and Princeton Seminary 
were both, even at that day, well at the top among the institutions of 
the country. Shortly after the war, Dr. James McCosh, an able, staunch, 
Scotch Presbyterian, had been called to the presidency of Princeton Col- 
lege. 15 He was not only an able preacher and teacher, but also a very 
able administrator, and under his presidency the college had a great 
growth in student body, faculty of instruction, and physical equip- 
ment. . . . 

I finally decided to go to Princeton because I desired to take certain 
courses in the college along with my seminary work. For the first two 
years I took one course with Dr. McCosh in the history of philosophy and 
one with Dr. William M. Sloane in mediaeval and modern history. Dr. 
McCosh was a unique personality and a most interesting lecturer. He 
was an ardent disciple of Plato and Aristotle and counted himself, prop- 
erly and not with undue self-esteem, as one of the leaders of the Scotch 
school of philosophy. He had some innocent, amusing mannerisms, 
walking the platform backwards and forwards (a veritable peripatetic), 
tweaking his nose, sometimes pulling his ears. Frequently in expressing 
his conclusions on some matter he was discussing, he would cap the 
climax and clinch the nails by declaring that "Plato, Aristotle, and my- 
self" hold the following, correct views. He was indeed a thinker of 
the first order, and his textbooks were ably written and had wide cir- 

15. James McCosh (1811-1894) had received an M.A. from Edinburgh University in 
1833. He taught at Queens College, Belfast (1852-1868), where he was known for his 
productive scholarship and his upholding the principles of intuitional philosophy. He 
was called to the presidency of the College of New Jersey in 1868. 



During the last term of my second year, which was, I think, Dr. 
McCosh's last teaching year, he gave a course on "Development— What 
It Can and What It Cannot Do." The discussion concerning evolution 
was raging at the time, and some very extreme positions were being 
taken on both sides. Dr. McCosh's booklet of one hundred pages or 
less was a brief, yet sane and exceedingly helpful, discussion of the much 
debated subject. He deplored the fact that the word "evolution" had 
been made a kind of scarehead and given a content which it did not 
properly contain. He used the less common but well-understood word 
"development." He emphasized that the process of development was a 
well-recognized process of the physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual 
life. He declared that it was not a matter of any importance as to the 
method God might have used in the development of the human body 
to bring it to its present state. He quoted from the 139th Psalm: 

For I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; 
and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, 
when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest part of the 
earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy 
book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, 
when as yet there was none of them. 

This, he declared, showed our ignorance of the methods God used 
in the creation of the body. He said that Genesis declared that God made 
the body of man out of the dust of the ground, and chemistry showed 
that all the elements in man's body were found in the dust of the 

Dr. McCosh strongly emphasized, however, that development could 
not bridge the distinct gap between the creation of the body and the 
creation of the soul. Varying processes might have been used in the 
development of the body, but no one nor all of those physical processes 
could develop a soul. That called for a distinct, second act of creation, 
just as Genesis declared that after the "Lord God formed man of the 
dust of the ground," he then by another act "breathed into his nostrils 
the breath of life; and man became a living soul." He declared that 
God's Word distinctly stated that the body should return to the ground 
from which it came and the spirit to the God who gave it. The science 
of anatomy can describe all the parts of the body, physiology can indicate 
its varying functions, psychology can study mental processes, physiolog- 
ical psychology can indicate many interesting mental phenomena, but 
no activity of the body can ever account for the hopes, joys, sorrows, the 
hatreds, the loves of the soul. 

Development, or evolution, Dr. McCosh held, was indeed a method 


by which God worked in his world, and it was used by man himself in 
the development of his physical, his intellectual, his moral, and his 
spiritual nature, and should not be minimized. On the other hand, 
neither should it be magnified, but it should be clearly recognized that 
there were things which evolution could and which evolution could not 

I considered Dr. McCosh to be one of the ablest personalities with 
whom I came in contact in my Princeton life, and I was happy that I 
came to the college before the old Scotch president retired. His courses 
in common sense philosophy were accepted by me as sound and so 
sufficiently satisfactory as to make them the basis of my own philosophi- 
cal thinking. The teaching on evolution as indicated above removed 
that subject from the field of my further personal concern. 

I took courses in history because there had been no chair of history 
at Randolph-Macon such as was later developed by the able professor, 
William E. Dodd. Professor Sloane was a strong, well-equipped man, 
a very attractive lecturer, and his courses were rated high in the college 
curriculum. I had done a great amount of biographical and historical 
reading, and the courses I took at Princeton systematized the informa- 
tion which I had already accumulated. 

The other major course which I took was one in ethics given by Dr. 
Francis Landey Patton, the most brilliant man in either the college or 
seminary faculty at that time. 16 There was not anything unusual in the 
syllabus or the notes of Dr. Patton's course. The value of the course 
consisted in the contact with Dr. Patton in the classroom. He was not 
simply a brilliant man, but he was unusual as well as brilliant. He had 
attacked the positions of Dr. David Swing in Chicago, and as pastor of 
the Clark Street Presbyterian Church had delivered twelve great doc- 
trinal sermons which established his standing as a great logician and 
theologian and brought him finally to Princeton. He had a varied 
career at Princeton. He was Professor of Ethics in the college and Pro- 
fessor of Theism and Christian Evidences in the seminary. He was 
then elected president of Princeton College, which position he held for 
about ten years, resigning to become president of the Theological Semi- 
nary, which position he held until his retirement as a teacher. . . . 

1 6. Francis Landey Patton (i 843-1 932) left the Presbyterian Theological Seminary 
of the Northwest and came to Princeton Theological Seminary (1881), where he filled 
a chair created for him, that of the Relations of Philosophy and Science to the Christian 
Religion. He followed McCosh as president of the College of New Jersey (1888), re- 
signed in 1902, and almost immediately was chosen president of the Princeton Theologi- 
cal Seminary. The controversy with the Reverend David Swing had led in 1874 to 
Patton's preferring formal charges against Swing for heresy. Swing was acquitted by 



The outstanding members of the faculty were the president of the 
seminary, Dr. William Henry Green, an outstanding authority in He- 
brew and Old Testament literature, Dr. Archibald Alexander Hodge, 
son of Dr. Charles Hodge (who was called at that time "the great 
Hodge"), Professor of Systematic Theology, and Dr. Francis Landey 
Patton, Professor of Theism and Christian Evidences. The other pro- 
fessors were good men of average ability who were earnest and faithful 
and of high character, though they were not very impressive teachers. 
It so happened that I was especially interested in the subjects taught by 
the three professors named. 

Dr. Green commanded the respect of the entire student body and 
was held in awe by many. 17 It was difficult to approach him or to be at 
all familiar with him. It was fortunate that he did not teach the first- 
year course in Hebrew, for his classroom manner awed, indeed scared, 
the first-year men to such an extent that they would never have learned 
the Hebrew grammar. He taught Old Testament criticism and intro- 
duction and, strange to relate, The Shorter Westminster Catechism. 

A recitation of that catechism was the most severe ordeal which any 
seminary student underwent during his entire course. The method fol- 
lowed was unusual. Immediately upon the calling of the roll Dr. Green 
would look over his glasses, under his heavy eyebrows, and call out the 
name of some member of the class and start him with some question on 
the catechism. For example: "Mr. Cannon, what is the reason an- 
nexed to the fourth commandment?" Thus suddenly called, the 
wretched Mr. Cannon would rise with shaking legs and trembling voice 
like unto a nine- or ten-year-old schoolboy and try to stumble through 
the long answer. Immediately following his effort, the stern voice 
would say, "Mr. Coffin, continue." And from that time until every mem- 
ber of the class had been called, the recitation would proceed without 
another question being asked, the student being expected to know the 
exact order of the questions and the answers in the catechism, and to 
proceed accordingly. 

Those Tuesday mornings were sorrowful but hilarious sessions, 
every man trembling until he had recited. From that time on he was 
amused, rejoicing in the discomfiture of his fellow classmates. Men 

the Presbytery of Chicago of these charges {The World's Edition of the Great Presbyterian 
Conflict: Patton vs. Swing . . . , Chicago: G. Macdonald & Co., 1874). 

17. Dr. William Henry Green (1825-1900) was elected professor of Biblical and 
Oriental Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1859. According to Harold H. 
Bender in the Dictionary of American Biography "as senior member of the faculty, he 
acted for seventeen years as president of the Seminary," while at the same time being 
the "scholarly leader in America of the ultraconservative school of Biblical Criticism." 


who knew their catechism thoroughly and men of the most amazing 
self-assurance on ordinary occasions stumbled, choked, and sat down 
under the "Rabbi's" gaze. Whether he enjoyed the performance I never 
could make out. He never indicated any sympathy for a struggling 
student, and the expression of his countenance never changed. It could 
not be said that the "theologs" ever really loved the "Rabbi," but they 
respected and admired him increasingly throughout the entire course. 

At that time the theological world was almost in an uproar because 
of the critical hypotheses of W. Robertson Smith of Scotland, and 
Wellhausen, Keunen, and others of Germany, aided and abetted to a 
considerable extent, as Princeton thought, by Dr. Charles Augustus 
Briggs of Union Seminary, New York. Dr. Green considered their 
theories to be not only speculation without any real foundation, but to 
be exceedingly dangerous and destructive of true faith, and he applied 
all of his great ability and learning to combat their theories. I was in- 
tensely interested, as always, in anything which really attacked the 
foundations of the faith. I majored in Dr. Green's courses. I not only 
took books out of the library . . . , but I spent more money in purchasing 
books of the higher critics than on any other subject. 

Dr. Green's analysis of the theories and of the statements of the 
critics advanced in support of their theories was thorough, searching, 
and indeed almost fierce. I delighted in the minuteness and the accuracy 
of Dr. Green's destructive attacks, and placed Dr. Green up in the 
class with Bishop Butler for the logical precision and unanswerable 
conclusions of his criticism. Thanks to Dr. Green, at the end of the 
seminary course I had satisfied myself as to what both the lower and 
the higher criticism could do for a better understanding of the Word of 
God, and, as in the matter of evolution under Dr. McCosh, I had under 
Dr. Green reached my conclusions as to what were its distinct limita- 
tions and what it could not do. 

I consider Dr. Green's courses to be the most helpful to me of all the 
courses taken at the seminary. After my courses under him, the attacks 
of the leading Higher Critics and their less qualified followers among 
teachers and preachers produced little or no impression. I kept the books 
of Wellhausen, Smith, Keunen, and others on my shelves, alongside 
Dr. Green's annihilating criticisms, for several years and then traded 
them oflf at the best bargain possible at Leary's Old Bookstore in Phila- 

Dr. Archibald Alexander Hodge was a great teacher, and because of 
that fact he was a great preacher also. Theology was to him the greatest 
of all studies because all theology in his thinking tied itself literally 



and necessarily to God. The power of his teaching lay in its great 
simplicity, and he demanded of his students that they should be able 
to express their views on any theological subject under discussion in 
plain, understandable language. . . . 

It happened that it was customary to hold a "moot court" every 
year or so in connection with Dr. Hodge's theological course. It was de- 
cided by the class to ask that I be put on trial for heresy — for belief and 
teaching contrary to the standards of the Presbyterian Church. The 
General Assembly had not yet adopted the Shorter Creed but the church 
still labored under the burden of a Westminster Confession with all 
its awful statements and implications. The student body was not, 
however, enthusiastic over super-Calvinism, or indeed over Calvinism in 
its raw form, and the ferment was already working in 1886 which ended 
in the adoption of the Shorter Creed. 

The court was held with Dr. Hodge presiding as moderator and in 
accordance with the proper Presbyterian form. The prosecutor set forth 
my heretical views with vigor and at great length. I was permitted to 
defend myself, which I did with equal vigor and with greater length, 
setting forth with great plainness the Wesleyan Arminian doctrine as 
opposed to Calvinism and as fully sustained by the teaching of Scripture. 
A member of my class also defended me and another member of my 
class closed for the prosecution. Dr. Hodge, after a few brief remarks 
emphasizing the Presbyterian standards, called for the vote of the Presby- 
tery by ballot. I was acquitted of the heretical charges by a large ma- 

Dr. Hodge, as moderator, arose and before announcing the result 
of the vote, stated in substance: "The vote which I am about to an- 
nounce is most amazing. The defendant has not only not admitted his 
guilt but has actually attempted to justify his position by a most 
positive, sweeping declaration of his belief in the teaching of John Wesley 
as opposed to the teaching of the Westminster Confession, and has in- 
sisted that he is in accord with the present-day views of the Presbyterian 
Church. And yet the members of this class, to whom I have been 
teaching theology, have voted by a large majority that he is not guilty 
of heresy. This, if it has any meaning, implies that most of the members 
of this class are no longer believers in the Westminster Confession, but 
are actually Methodists in their doctrinal beliefs. The defendant, how- 
ever, is acquitted by the vote as recorded by the secretary." The trial was 
attended by nearly the entire student body and was the subject of much 
discussion through the seminary for many days, and I was given the 
name of "the Southern heretic." 


To my great distress Dr. Hodge died quite unexpectedly in the middle 
of my course in systematic theology. While he was succeeded for the 
rest of the year by Dr. Patton, the loss was very great. Dr. Patton would 
be reckoned as a more brilliant man than Dr. Hodge. He was intensely 
logical and had a superb vocabulary. He not only had a sense of humor 
but the ability to use sarcasm and irony in most devastating fashion. 
In his course of sermons delivered at Clark Street Presbyterian Church 
in Chicago, he practically annihilated Dr. David Swing, sweeping him 
entirely out of the Presbyterian Church. There is perhaps no abler 
sermonic presentation of the doctrines of the Westminster Confession 
than are contained in those twelve Clark Street sermons. But while Dr. 
Patton was able and brilliant and always interesting and instructive, 
he was not so great a teacher as Dr. Hodge. Still, if Dr. Hodge was gone 
and could not continue to teach the course, it was a great privilege to 
have Dr. Patton to complete the year. I only wish that he might have 
continued through the following year, but the next year Dr. B. B. War- 
field was elected to the chair of Systematic Theology. He was an entirely 
different man and teacher from either Dr. Hodge or Dr. Patton. His 
Calvinism and his dogmatism were so intense that it seemed to me to 
reach a point of repulsive exclusiveness, not to say fanatical narrowness. 
I got little help from my course in systematic theology that year. . . . 

At the end of my second year I had become well known in my class, 
was fairly well liked, and was elected as one of the two men to have 
charge of the bookroom the coming year. The bookroom was kept by 
two students selected by the class to order books for the students and to 
keep on sale as large a stock as the leading publishers of theological 
books would permit them to have. The bookroom was kept open for 
two hours daily, and it was supposed that the partners would divide the 
time. I had frequented the bookroom during my first two years and had 
given some thought to the methods employed. When I was elected, 
I determined to sell three or four times as many books as had been sold 
before. I determined to put in a very large stock of books. Many of 
the students had bought their books on their trips to Philadelphia and 
New York because they could see a greater assortment of books there 
than in the bookroom. I conferred with the leading publishing houses 
and convinced most of them that large consignments on sale would 
result in the purchase of very many more books. 

About Christmas I proposed to buy outright a large number of books 
which could not be obtained on consignment, and I proposed to my 
partner to invest the money necessary. This he preferred not to do. 
Having tired of working in the bookroom, he proposed that I buy out 


his interest, which arrangement was carried out. For the rest of the 
year I put in a very large supply of books very carefully selected, includ- 
ing very few which I did not desire to retain for my own personal 
library if the books were unsold. I pursued a policy of frankness with 
my fellow students, writing in each book the cost mark, and under- 
neath this the selling price, so that every student could see the profit 
which I would make. My methods were so successful that at the end 
of the year I had a profit of nearly $3,000 and several hundred choice 
volumes for my own personal library. . . . 

Many of the theologues, especially of the senior class, went out on 
Saturday to supply vacant pulpits on Sunday in New Jersey, Pennsyl- 
vania, and New York. Applications came in to the secretary of the 
faculty, who distributed them to the different students. As all the calls 
were from Presbyterian churches and as I was known by the secretary 
to be a Methodist, I went out to supply pulpits only two times during 
my stay at the seminary. On both occasions I happened to go to churches 
which were seeking a pastor and which took it for granted that I was 
open to a call from a vacant pulpit. In both cases, after my return to 
the seminary I received letters from the churches, and in one case was 
actually waited upon by a committee, the object being to discuss with 
me the acceptance of the call to the pastorate. I had learned to respect 
the Presbyterian Church very highly, but I was by heredity, conviction, 
and choice a Methodist and a Southern Methodist, having a positive 
purpose to cast my lot and to do my work among my own people. 

Aside from the ten-minute sermonettes which the members of the 
class were required to deliver in the assembly hall during the middle 
year and the thirty-minute sermon handed in in the senior year, I had 
little practice in preaching. I gave comparatively little thought and time 
to the preparation of my ten-minute sermonette delivered in the middle 
year. I remember that my text was: "Make this valley full of ditches. 
For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; 
yet that valley shall be filled with water." I used the text as the basis 
for an exhortation for necessary personal activity and the doing of our 
own part if we would secure the co-operation of God in our work. Dr. 
Aiken, who was the professor critic that night, very kindly let me off 
with the statement that it was a "very helpful exhortation." But I know 
my friends did not think very much of it, for A. L. Mershon, a college- 
student friend who had come over to hear me, was constrained to say 
to me as we walked back to my room, "Weil, I am sure you can do 
better than that." . . . 

While I was without much public training when I left the seminary, 


I had received very valuable private instruction. Next to my courses 
under Drs. McCosh, Green, and Hodge, I consider that the most valuable 
course I had at Princeton was a private course under Professor Peabody, 
who had been the very able Professor of Dramatics and Oratory at the 
college. For personal reasons he had resigned his chair, but was given 
by Dr. McCosh the privilege of giving private instruction in one of the 
large examination halls on the very top floor of one of the college build- 
ings. Greatly to my regret I did not hear of Professor Peabody until 
after the middle of the second year; but having started lessons with 
him, I continued weekly, and whenever possible twice weekly, to take 
an hour of instruction from one of the five greatest teachers I ever had. 

Professor Peabody was a highly cultured man, literally steeped in 
the very best of English prose and poetry, and above all with a tre- 
mendous love and understanding of the English Bible. . . . He required 
that a student should surrender himself entirely to his instruction. 
Owing to the quality and strength of my voice, not so much time was 
given to the development of tone and strength. 

With the student on the platform and the professor in the back of 
the hall, from sixty to a hundred feet away, services were conducted 
regularly by the preacher and the congregation of one man — the pro- 
fessor — on the back seat. The principal textbook was, of course, the 
Bible. The professor, without warning, would call out a passage of 
Scripture which the student read as best he could, fully realizing after 
a few experiences how inadequate his interpretation would be. Follow- 
ing the student's reading, Professor Peabody read the passage, bringing 
out by his inflexion and emphasis latent shades of meaning — ridicule, 
pathos, indignation, passion, sorrow, joy, agony, bliss — bringing out the 
full meaning of every word, phrase, clause, and sentence. . . . 

In my last year Professor Peabody stressed the development of ability 
to think quickly, actively, and effectively when called upon with little 
or no warning. One of his favorite methods was to read a verse or 
verses of Scripture and give me five or more minutes of quiet to think, 
and then call on me to preach a sermon, developing the thought of the 
text and making proper application of the same to individual or social 
life. Some of those extemporaneous sermons were fearfully and won- 
derfully made. At first I could not speak more than five minutes, then 
ten, then fifteen, and finally twenty minutes. It was understood that I 
desired to obtain profit from the teaching and that I would accept criti- 
cisms of my mistakes and faults and instruction as to how to correct 
them; and this Professor Peabody gave me so plainly and sincerely that 
it sometimes seemed to be almost merciless. Some of his students could 



not take their medicine with good grace and gave up the course. . . . 

I always regarded this training given by Professor Peabody as of 
inestimable value for the pulpit, and especially for church assemblies 
and public occasions of every kind. Coolness, deliberation, and self- 
control were greatly strengthened by the faithful, able, kindly discipline 
of my great teacher. 

Matters of unusual importance not connected with seminary life 
occurred during my Princeton years. At the close of the first seminary 
year, in May 1886, I went back to Ashland, and from there went daily 
to attend the session of the General Conference of our Church meeting 
in the city of Richmond. While I had met some of our Church leaders 
during my Randolph-Macon life, the General Conference of 1886 was 
my first opportunity to see and hear the recognized leaders from all 
over the Church. I studied very carefully the General Conference pro- 
cedure, listened with great interest to the debates and formal addresses. 
. . . I decided that the Virginia delegation was the ablest in the confer- 
ence and that the Virginia Conference itself, in its personnel and in 
the ability displayed in the debates and in the work of the Annual Con- 
ference, measured up very well with the General Conference itself. 
Although it might be declared to be narrow and provincial, I held sub- 
stantially the same view from that time until 1918, as long as I had 
intimate knowledge of the personnel of the Virginia Conference. The 
men who most impressed me in the General Conference of 1886 were 
Bishops McTyeire and Keener, and Bishop-elect Charles B. Galloway. 18 

I was surprised that Dr. W. W. Duncan received the highest vote 
in the episcopal election. 19 I asked Dr. Bennett to explain it and he 
said, "Well, I voted for Wallace Duncan. I know he is not a great 
preacher, but he was a good pastor, and I think he has a kind heart. We 
need men with big hearts in the episcopacy to sympathize with our 
preachers and people. There is only one danger in electing men of 

18. Holland Nimmons McTyeire (1824-1889) entered the Virginia Conference in 
1845, served in Alabama and Louisiana, founded the New Orleans Christian Advocate 
(1851), and edited the Christian Advocate, the official publication of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South (1 858-1 862). He persuaded Cornelius Vanderbilt to establish Van- 
derbilt University, and, according to Oswald E. Brown's article on McTyeire in the 
Dictionary of American Biography, was made "president of the board of trust with full 
veto power." He was elected bishop (1866). Charles Betts Galloway (1849-1909) edited 
the New Orleans Christian Advocate (1 882-1 886) and was elected bishop (1886). Ac- 
cording to John L. Wade in the Dictionary of American Biography, he was "the youngest 
Methodist to be raised to that position in America until that time." 

19. William Wallace Duncan (1839-1908) entered the Virginia Conference in 1859. 
He was teaching at Wofford College in 1877, when he declined the presidency of 
Randolph-Macon upon the death of his brother James A. Duncan. He was elected bishop 
in 1886 (Irby, History of Randolph-Macon, p. 264; Frederick De Land Leete, Methodist 
Bishops. . . , Nashville [1948], p. 60). 


mediocre ability to the episcopacy. They sometimes try to make up for 
lack of mental ability by magnifying unduly the authority of the episco- 
pal office." This was a wise saying by a man who had watched the 
bishops go in and out for forty years. . . . 

During my Princeton days I took advantage of the nearness of 
Philadelphia and New York to visit both cities quite frequently on week 
ends. In Philadelphia I usually went to Bethany Presbyterian Church, 
which had been built by John Wanamaker, who had developed there the 
first great modern Sunday School. I was especially attracted by the zeal 
and consecration of Dr. Arthur T. Pierson, who was a great advocate 
of foreign missions and editor of the Missionary Review. But the prin- 
cipal attraction was Mr. Wanamaker and his Sunday School. The great 
organizing ability which he had shown in the development of the first 
great department store in America was manifest in the Bethany Sunday 
School. The grading was exact from the primary up to the adult Bible 
class (a large group of men and women), which Mr. Wanamaker 
frequently taught himself and which was crowded with visitors from 
all parts of the country. It was in the closing exercises that Mr. Wana- 
maker showed his great versatility and fertility, gripping the attention 
of the whole school from little children to gray-headed men and women. 
He was one of the greatest laymen that America has ever produced. 

But I went more frequently to New York than to Philadelphia. . . . 
Beecher, Storrs, and Talmage, the great Brooklyn triumvirate of preach- 
ers, were all living and speaking with power to crowded houses. They 
were all so great in their own way and I so eagerly desired to hear all 
of them that when I was listening to one, I could but feel sorry that I 
was missing the others. Storrs was majesty personified. Beecher was 
fresh and spontaneous like a rushing mountain stream. Talmage was 
essentially a dramatist full of vigor and action. What would seem al- 
most ridiculous and overwrought in anyone else seemed natural in him. 
I remember one night he was preaching on the text, "Then the disciples 
took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket." The 
pulpit platform was very long, at least fifty feet. In emphasizing the 
value of deeds of unknown persons as an encouragement to lowly, 
humble workers, he ran across the platform three times, crying at the 
top of his voice, "I held the rope! I held the rope which saved the life 
of the great apostle Paul!" In Beecher or Storrs such action would have 
been utterly incongruous, indeed impossible, but in Talmage it seemed 
to be the very thing to do, and it drove home the truth that he was try- 
ing to impress. 

But the man whose preaching was most helpful to me was Dr. Wil- 



liam M. Taylor, pastor of the Broadway Tabernacle. He was preaching 
in those days a great series of sermons on Bible characters — Moses, David, 
Elijah, Daniel, Paul— and was expounding the miracles and the parables 
as few men have done. The style and the [manner] of his preaching 
greatly appealed to me, and I bought and read everything that Dr. 
Taylor had written, which had considerable influence on my own style. 
The congregation usually filled the tabernacle auditorium on Sunday 
morning, but like many downtown churches, the night congregations 
had begun to dwindle. I could detect no difference, however, in the 
quality of Dr. Taylor's sermons preached to the night congregation. One 
Sunday night I went up and spoke to him and expressed my great ap- 
preciation of both his printed and spoken sermons. His face lighted up 
as he thanked me for what I had said, but he then turned and waving 
toward the comparatively empty auditorium — not more than two hun- 
dred persons — he said quite pathetically, "The bottom has dropped out 
of my night congregations." 

Most of my time in New York on Saturday and Sunday nights was 
given to the lower end of the city — Sixth Avenue, the Bowery with its 
mission, and Jerry McCauley's mission. I was greatly interested in the 
work which was carried on among the "publicans, harlots, and sinners," 
but I was a young man, neither fearless nor unaware of the dangers 
into which I went. Nevertheless, I went among and talked freely with 
what might be called the "underworld," both men and women. I got 
a very vivid picture of the night life of New York in those Princeton 
days. I saw in the work of the missions what the power of the gospel 
could do in the salvation of utterly lost men and women. All through 
my later life, in cities all over the United States and in European coun- 
tries, I have maintained my interest in the submerged tenth. I found 
so many of these lost people with kindly, helpful spirits toward each 
other, far more attractive and human than many rich, greedy, selfish, 
covetous men and women in the higher grades of social life. . . . 

In those days the Salvation Army had not been developed in the 
United States. It is now doing some of the work which I then felt the 
churches ought to be doing, but in which only a few brave, strong spirits 
were willing to engage, although the splendid results of their missionary 
efforts among the outcast and the lost should have been sufficient to 
have stimulated very many others to do similar work. I thought and 
prayed long and earnestly in those days to determine whether I should 
give myself to that greatly needed work, and whether it was not as 
important as work in the foreign mission fields which at that time I 
gready desired to enter. 


In the spring of 1887 I had gone to Trenton to attend some of the 
sessions of the New Jersey Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church [which] was meeting there. The great addresses of the Confer- 
ence were delivered by Bishop James M. Thoburn, who with the back- 
ground of his own great work in India was impressing upon his 
church the needs and opportunities of that great field. 20 While always 
interested in missions, I had never before faced the question of my 
own personal relation to such work; but Bishop Thoburn's message 
found a lodgment in my heart, and from that day on I have clearly 
understood and applied to myself the last general order given to the 
church by the risen Lord to "Go ye into all the world, and preach the 
gospel to every creature." I was made to recognize fully that unless 
Paul had been obedient to the heavenly vision, the gospel of repentance 
and salvation from sin would not have been proclaimed in Europe, 
would not have come to America, and that I myself owed my own salva- 
tion to the obedience of the early church to the command of our Lord 
and Master. 

I sought an interview with Bishop Thoburn, and for more than an 
hour conferred with him about the work on the mission fields, especially 
about India. Bishop Thoburn realized my genuine interest and asked 
a number of questions concerning my life and preparation. When I told 
him of my serious breakdown in 1885, of the death of my sister in 1886, 21 
and of the present diseased condition of my brother, he expressed very 
serious doubt as to whether any Mission Board would agree to send me 
to the field, and suggested an interview with the foreign mission secre- 
taries in New York. I saw the foreign mission secretaries of both the 
Methodist Episcopal and of the Presbyterian Church. Greatly to my 
disappointment, the secretaries of both boards told me quite positively 
that they did not think there was any possibility that with my own 
personal and family record I would be accepted by any board. This 
was a great disappointment to me as I felt that my own health had 
been fully restored. I realized, however, the common sense underlying 
the attitude of the officials whom I had consulted. 

But the new emphasis which I had learned to place on the Master's 
great commission has never been lessened nor has it spent its force. 
The mission fields have always been to me a call to a great adventure 

20. James M. Thoburn (1836-1922) entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church in 1858. He was sent to India in the following year and was elected missionary 
bishop for Southern Asia in 1888, an office which he held until his retirement in 1908. 

21. Virginia Cannon died of tuberculosis on July 1, 1886. In the fall of that year the 
Cannon family suffered another blow when a major fire swept the town of Salisbury, 
destroying the Cannon home and store. 


to do sacrificial, glorious service in extending the boundaries of the 
Kingdom of God. In every field of service I have had I have emphasized 
missions in writing and speaking, wherever opportunity offers. During 
my entire episcopal service I asked for supervision of some mission fields. 

My attitude towards missions was greatly emphasized by the forma- 
tion at that time by two Princeton men, Robert P. Wilder and John M. 
Foreman, of what became known later as the Student Volunteer Mis- 
sionary Movement. 22 To emphasize this movement Mr. [Dwight L.] 
Moody held a conference at Mt. Hermon, Massachusetts, the seat of one 
of the schools which he had organized. I attended this conference in 
the summer of 1887. The principal platform speakers were Henry 
Drummond, Dr. }. Stuart Holden, of Portman Square Church, London, 
Bishop [Eugene Russell] Hendrix, and one or two others. While Henry 
Drummond especially was exceedingly fine, the man who gripped the 
students' hearts was Mr. Moody. There I was in touch with him at 
close range, and he seemed to me like a giant dynamo, generating vital 
power for all who came in contact with him. I well remember the 
delightful meetings we held on Round Top, a spot later selected for 
Mr. Moody's burial place. 

At last the day came in May, 1888, when I had received my diploma 
from the seminary, had completed my work for the master's degree at 
the college, had sold the stock of books I had remaining to the book 
agent for the coming year, had packed my own books — quite a sizable 
library, much larger than that of most preachers in the Virginia Con- 
ference, had shipped them to my father's home in Salisbury, had trans- 
ferred the money I had from the banks at Princeton, had bid goodby to 
my classmates and friends in Princeton, and was ready to start my life 
in my own Southern Methodist Church. 

In June, 1886, owing to his impaired health, Dr. Bennett had pre- 
sented his resignation as president of Randolph-Macon College. . . . 
He was appointed as pastor of the Gordonsville and Orange Circuit and 
he attempted to serve it, but his health did not improve and he died in 
the summer of 1887. . . . He was one of the great influences in shaping 
my life. We understood and appreciated each other, and he had given 
his full approval to the marriage of his daughter and myself. 

It had been agreed in 1883 that our marriage should take place after 
I had finished my college and seminary course. While the separation ex- 

22. The Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions was organized at Mount 
Hermon, Massachusetts, in 1886. Informal meetings in which Wilder and his friends 
participated had begun in 1884 (Gordon Poteat, Student Volunteer Movement. . . , New 
York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 1928). 


tending over months at a time without any break became very irksome, 
only partially relieved by our weekly letters, yet we both recognized 
the wisdom of the plan. We were married on August i, 1888, in the 
presence o£ quite a group of friends of the family, some of whom were 
spending the summer in the neighborhood. . . . We decided to spend 
our honeymoon at Chautauqua, New York, a journey of twenty-four 
hours from Virginia. . . . 

No more delightful place could be found to spend the days of a 
honeymoon than Chautauqua. At that time, in 1888, Dr. }. H. Vincent 
was in his very prime of intellectual and moral leadership. Outstanding 
lecturers and preachers were eager to appear on the Chautauqua plat- 
form, and they were there during that month of August. Phillips Brooks 
was there in all the splendor of his great power. He preached two great 
sermons on the "Light of the World" and "Walk in the Spirit." I had 
already bought some of his sermons, but my wife and I agreed that we 
would buy all the rest of them that were in print. F. W. Gunsaulus was 
in the midst of his great career in Chicago and delivered illuminating 
biographical lectures every morning for a week. I shall not attempt 
to describe the majestic eloquence of the one and the magical word- 
painting of the other. They were superb in their fields. . . . Dr. James 
M. Buckley was there in a series of sermons and lectures. The most 
interesting and helpful work which he did was his conduct of "the 
question box." This was a noted institution as conducted by Dr. Buckley 
at Chautauqua for many years. Dr. Buckley's encyclopedic information, 
his alert mind, and ready wit furnished an evening of rare entertainment. 

We also took regular study courses at Chautauqua under those 
unusual Bible teachers, Dr. Jesse Lyman Hurlbut and Dr. A. E. 
Dunning, which were a stimulus and furnished the pattern for Bible 
teaching later on as pastor and as college professor. Chautauqua was 
revisited twice in later years, but it was never the same Chautauqua. 
Vincent was gone, and the platform men, while good, did not measure 
up to the standards of 1888. 

Our bridal trip was completed by the usual trip to Niagara Falls and 
to Watkins Glen. But as the Virginia Conference was not to meet in 
annual session until November, there were more than two months in 
which to visit at Salisbury and Louisa County. The stay in Salisbury 
was very delightful. . . . 

Nearly every morning, drives were taken by my wife and myself 
behind the faithful Patsy, a stop usually being made in some secluded 
woods road when, following my custom under Professor Peabody, I 
gave my Bible to my wife and told her that she must be Professor Pea- 


body. She selected whatever passage of Scripture she desired to hear 
me talk upon, and after five minutes' meditation I preached the best 
extemporaneous, short sermon that I could. At the close of my sermon 
my wife criticized my work, and then before leaving the improvised 
preaching place, notes were made of the text and of the exposition, many 
of which were copied in a pocket memorandum book which I have 
carried around in my satchel to the present day, and so it escaped the 
Blackstone fire. Some of the sermon notes in that memorandum book 
I think to be as fresh and vivid as any which I have. This insistence 
that my wife give me faithful, loving criticism in the piney woods near 
Salisbury resulted in free, helpful advice and suggestions through all 
the years to come. 

After the conclusion of our visit in Salisbury, we went over for a 
pleasant stay at the Bennett home in Louisa. From there we went on to 
attend the Conference session at Portsmouth without the shyness or 
embarrassment of most newlywed couples. 

III. Early Ministry in tke Pastorate 

The writer was a pastor for only six years — on a country circuit, in a new 
and growing city, and in a conservative old Virginia town. But these six 
years in the most formative period of his life had a tremendous e§ect upon 
the thin\ing, preaching, and activities of later years. 

ii i mi ii ill nun mi inn • i ■ i ■ ■ ■ ■ i ■ 1 1 ■ • • ■ 1 1 1 ■ •■ i < i i ■ 1 1 1 ■ ■ > ■ 1 1 ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ 1 1 ■ 1 1 1 1 ■■ ■■■ 1 1 ■ 1 1 1 1 1 1 ■ > : ■ ■ 1 1 ) ■ i ■ 1 1 i ■ i 

I was recommended for admission on trial in the Virginia Annual Con- 
ference by the Quarterly Conference of Berkeley Station, just across the 
river from Norfolk. Berkeley was selected because the pastor of the 
church was the Reverend Bernard F. Lipscomb, a former pastor of the 
Salisbury church, and for many years one of my closest ministerial 
friends. . . . The Conference that year was presided over by Bishop John 
C. Granberry, a native Virginian and a great friend of the Bennett 
family. 1 Having passed an approved examination, I was admitted on 
trial on my birthday, November 13, 1888, at the age of twenty-four years, 
and continued as a member of that body until 1918 (thirty years), when 
I very reluctantly gave up my membership to accept the office of bishop. 
My wife and I sat in the gallery and followed every item of the proceed- 
ings. We had attended many sessions of the Annual Conference before 
but this was different. Now we were members, and we began to listen 
to the men who spoke and to the proceedings from a different view- 
point. How well do I remember that seat in the gallery in old Monu- 
mental Church! . . . 

As the bishop and some of the presiding elders were our friends, I 
was asked what kind of charge I would like to have, and I unhesitatingly 
said that we preferred a circuit in the hill country. I could have been 
sent to a small city station, but I did not desire it. I was assigned to the 
Charlotte Circuit in a section of Virginia which I had never visited and 
of which I knew practically nothing, having never met anyone from 
that county. 

Charlotte Circuit had four church buildings and six preaching ap- 

i.John Cowper Granberry (1829-1907) graduated from Randolph-Macon in 1848. 
He served as chaplain in the Confederate Army, was professor of Moral Philosophy and 
Practical Theology at Vanderbilt (i 875-1 882), and was elected bishop (1882) (Appletons' 
Cyclopaedia of American Biography, II, 704). 


pointments, with a distance of twenty miles between the churches farthest 
apart and with a membership scattered over a correspondingly large 
territory. The county was proud of its place in Virginia history, count- 
ing the Randolphs, the Henrys, and the Marshalls as among its citizens. 
The Marshall and Henry families were still quite prominent in the 
county and were all staunch Presbyterians. The proximity of Hampden- 
Sydney College and Union Theological Seminary had resulted in many 
strong Presbyterian churches being located in that section of Virginia. 
As is frequently the case, the Presbyterians had more cultured, better 
educated people in their congregations than did the Methodists and 
Baptists, but there were two or three leading Methodist families in each 

When the train reached Keysville on our arrival on the circuit, we 
were met by an elderly man wearing glasses, with rather a gruff voice, 
who took charge of us and led us to the near-by hotel, of which he was 
the owner and his wife the efficient manager. He was probably the most 
well-to-do man on the circuit, kindly in nature, and quite deaf. We 
were given an excellent supper and shown to our room, from which we 
heard the steward tell his wife in quite a loud tone of voice that the 
Conference had sent them two "babes in the woods," that they would 
probably get lost going around the circuit. (At that time my wife 
weighed about 118, and I weighed about 135.) His wife, who spoke in 
a very clear voice so that he might hear, replied, "They may be babes, 
but they have mighty bright eyes." 

After a month's careful survey, driving to all the churches and meet- 
ing the leading members, we decided to live at Charlotte Court House. 
There we were able to secure a very large room, on the second floor with 
a southeastern exposure and a large fireplace, in the hotel at the Court 
House. It was a large, old frame building, with only an occasional guest 
except on the Monday of court and a few days following. Then it 
sometimes fed from seventy-five to a hundred [people]. We paid twenty- 
five dollars per month for the room and board, rough laundry, and 
servant's attention. The proprietor and his wife and daughter were 
kindly, pleasant people, who became very fond of us and did everything 
they could to make our stay in the old hotel as comfortable as possible. 
We had a few rather choice pieces of furniture (wedding presents) 
which made the room very comfortable and attractive. The best books 
of my library were sent from Salisbury; and with only this one room 
with its great wood-burning fireplace, one of the most delightful years 
of our lives was spent on the Charlotte Circuit. 

A fair judge of horses, I bought the horse and buggy of the former 



pastor for one hundred dollars, and was glad to find that I had secured 
not only a fine looking, gentle, intelligent horse, but one that could 
average around eight miles an hour even on the rough Charlotte County 
roads of those days. . . . 

While both my wife and I had been thrown with Methodist preachers 
all our lives, neither of us had had any experience on a county circuit. 
We counted it as the greatest blessing that came to us that the leading 
steward on the circuit who lived at the Court House was the highest 
type of Virginia gentleman. William A. Smith was not only well-bred 
— right up at the top with all the "first families" — but he was well-edu- 
cated, a lawyer with probably the largest practice in the county, of a 
most lovable disposition, a believer in the doctrine and discipline of the 
Methodist Church, generous to the limit of his ability, and sometimes 
more. . . . 

Brother Smith's law office on the Court House green was a favorite 
gathering place for village and country people on county court days. 
Here from time to time, I met not only the leading people around the 
Court House, but people from all over the county who came to the 
Court House to transact business; and on county court day I could sit 
in Brother Smith's office and meet and talk with almost everyone of 
the entire eleven stewards of the circuit; and what was most important, 
this was done under the stimulating, generous glow of a man who had 
known all of them from childhood and who understood very fully the 
narrowness, the breadth, the failings, and the good qualities each one 
possessed, and they all knew that Brother Smith knew and understood 
them. Time and again during the year I had different stewards to 
say to me, "Brother Smith has been telling you about me." 

After the second court day after dinner I called for a meeting of the 
circuit stewards in Brother Smith's office during the dinner recess of 
the county court, and it became generally known around the Court 
House green that the young preacher was going to have a meeting of 
the "Methodist bunch" at Brother Smith's office every court day. These 
meetings were of great value, as many differences of opinion and some 
quite knotty problems were brought up and discussed in an easy, in- 
formal way which would not have been possible at a regular Quarterly 
Conference. And with Brother Smith, whom they all honored and 
respected, acting somewhat as an umpire, satisfactory conclusions were 
nearly always reached. 

The first sermon of my ministry was preached at the Court House 
church. It was quite a large room and it was crowded as there was no 
service in any neighboring church and there was great curiosity to see 



and to hear the "young" preacher, who, it had been noised abroad among 
the Presbyterians, had spent three years at Princeton Seminary and yet 
had come out a Methodist. The text was one which my wife had given 
me to preach upon in one of my extemporaneous sermons in the piney 
woods around Salisbury: "Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for 
such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without 
spot and blameless." The preacher began: "Laziness is a crime. A 
lazy man is a thief. He steals not only from himself but he steals from 
his family, from his friends, from the entire community of which he 
is a part." 

To my surprise and somewhat to my dismay, as I made these state- 
ments in a positive, emphatic tone of voice, I saw a smile go over the 
faces of almost all the congregation, accompanied in some cases with a 
chuckle and a craning of necks to look at four individuals who sat on 
the pew at the stove. Without knowing it, I had shot a bolt which cap- 
tured the entire community. There were four grown men of good 
family who did nothing much but wear out good clothes, loafing in 
the stores and on the Court House green. They had declared that they 
had organized themselves into a band of the "Sons of Eternal Rest," but 
from that time on they were branded by the community as the "four 
thieves." They took the sermon in good part, although they were greeted 
with shouts of laughter when they went out of the church. None of 
them fell out with the preacher, and I received two of them into the 
church and they joined the ranks of industry before the end of the 
year. ... 

To give all the appointments a preaching service every other Sunday 
called for preaching twice every Sunday, and three times every other 
Sunday, with from fifteen to thirty miles to be covered over heavy, red- 
clay roads, very muddy in the winter. The longest ride between sermons 
was from Lebanon to Hebron, and vice versa. . . . 

My father had taught me to be very strict in the matter of keeping 
an appointment, once made. I considered that an appointment to preach 
was an agreement on my part with the people of the community, and 
that only the most extraordinary circumstances could justify a failure to 
keep my promise. In the month of February it began snowing on Satur- 
day at midnight, and was snowing heavily Sunday morning. The He- 
bron appointment was about twenty miles from the Court House. The 
Court House people said that nobody would think of going to church 
in such weather, but all agreed that they would doubtless come to the 
county court the next day. 

As I drove up into the clearing around the church just about eleven 



o'clock, I caught sight of a man on a mule riding hastily away from the 
church in the opposite direction. Only one man, the youngest of the 
stewards, was there. I asked him who was the man on the mule who 

had just ridden away. The steward replied, "That was Brother — 

[one of the older stewards]. He said he knew you wouldn't come, but 
his wife and children all said that you would; so he rode out here to 
make sure of it. He has ridden back home to tell his family how foolish 
it was of them to have thought that they would have found the preacher 
at church on such a day." 

The young steward and I went into the church. There was plenty 
of wood to keep up a good fire, and the weather was not exceedingly 
cold. The young steward thought that I would sit and chat a while, and 
then go home with him and get some dinner. He was greatly surprised 
when I went into the chancel, got the hymn book, came down within the 
altar rail, gave out a hymn, sang it, prayed, read the scripture lesson, 
and preached a sermon which he told the Hebron people afterward he 
could not dodge, for he was the only man there and so could not pass 
it over to anyone else. 

At my last previous appointment at Hebron I had announced that 
.1 was going to talk about the menace of the barroom at Randolph, a 
near-by railroad station; for here on my first charge far out in the 
country I found the slimy, destructive trail of the liquor traffic. I 
preached the very sermon that I had intended to preach before the snow 
came, and closed with some strong words concerning the Randolph 
barroom; how dangerous it was to the young men of the community; 
how important it was that all the members, especially the leaders, of 
Hebron Church should express a positive disapproval of its existence by 
both precept and by example; and how I hoped that the leaders would 
attend the coming court and use their influence to prevent the renewal 
of the license. It so happened that this very steward — the youngest of 
the board — found it very difficult to go to Randolph to trade without 
getting in with the crowd in the barroom (for he was naturally sociable 
and quite popular), and sometimes it was reported that he went home 
with more liquor than he could safely carry. I knew of that report, but 
the steward did not think I did. That intensely personal sermon on that 
snowy morning was the turning point in that young steward's life. He 
never entered the Randolph barroom from that time on, became the 
most liberal, earnest supporter of Hebron Church, and later sent two 
of his daughters to Blackstone College after I had become president of 
that school. 

The news of that Sunday morning service, of the preacher coming 


through the snow and preaching to one man, was spread all over the 
county, and from that time on, no matter what the weather was, there 
was a goodly congregation at every church on the circuit, for the people 
knew that the preacher would be there. 

The first Quarterly Conference was held about a week after the snow- 
storm mentioned above, and nearly three months after I had come to the 
circuit, after I had preached several times at every church, and after my 
wife and I had visited in very many of the homes of the people, always 
with prayer and usually with a song. This Conference was still an 
occasion of importance and interest, and as I now recall that first Quar- 
terly Conference was attended by every steward on the circuit. The 
presiding elder, the Reverend Joseph H. Amis, I had known as presiding 
elder of the Eastern Shore District when for four years he lived in my 
home town of Salisbury. He was one of the best preachers of the old 
school. He had a good mind, which was quite logical in its working; 
and although he never had any college training, yet he had been a hard 
student of the best books of the Wesleyan theological type. He had heard 
the best preachers of the Church, from which he had profited; and 
having a very retentive memory, he could quote strong passages from 
their sermons. He was the best presiding elder I ever had, and while 
a pastor was one of the best in the Conference. 

It seemed to me that he had had some experiences with stewards on 
country circuits which had made him less effective than he might have 
been in the matter of stressing the importance of raising the pastor's 
salary and of the Conference collections. While I believed that every 
charge should give a good support to its pastor and that every charge 
was able to do so, yet I had not said anything to my stewards about my 
salary. The circuit had the year before paid to a married man with wife 
and two children about $450. I frankly told the Quarterly Conference 
that I could not meet my necessary expenses on that amount. I gave 
them an itemized statement of the cost of board, upkeep of horse and 
DU ggYj wearing apparel, moderate life insurance, necessary newspapers, 
periodicals, and books, and contributions to the Conference collections, 
including missions. I told them very frankly that I might live on some- 
thing less than I had indicated, but I did not think I should be expected 
to do so; and that while I was going to give them the best service I 
could, I expected them to pay me enough to meet my obligations, as I 
would not run in debt. 

The old brother who had called us "babes in the woods" was, to my 
great surprise, quite enthusiastic, stating that that was the first time he 
had ever heard a preacher say what he expected to do with the money 


they paid him; but the brother who had ridden the mule away from 
the church before the preacher arrived was not satisfied. He was sure 
that the people would not pay any more than they had paid the year 
before, and if they had a freshet in the river and lost their corn crops, 
they would not pay as much. 

All of the stewards but two or three had held office from twenty or 
thirty to forty years. They had set the standard of giving in the several 
churches by what they gave. No matter what the circumstances, the 
needs of the preacher's family, or the appeals for special purposes, most 
of them gave the same amount every year, and some of them discouraged 
other members who proposed to increase their gifts. The brother on 
the mule said he expected to pay just what he had been paying — fifty 
cents a month, six dollars a year — and he did not think any other mem- 
ber of Hebron Church could pay more than he did the year before. 
But the young steward to whom I had preached the individual sermon 
said that he expected to double what he had been paying, that he would 
pay twelve dollars a year. Immediately there was an explosive protest 
from the brother who rode the mule. He declared most vehemently 
that no man in Hebron Church was able to give more than five dollars 
a year, but that his wife had insisted on his giving another dollar for 
her. But the young steward held his ground, and from that day the 
sway of the brother on the mule was broken in Hebron Church. . . . 
His skin was too thick for the preaching or prayers of his pastor to 
make any apparent dent in it, although he was often very uncomfortable 
and moved his seat from near the front to the middle of the church. 

My salary was finally fixed at five hundred dollars a year and travel- 
ing expenses to the circuit, which amounted to forty-five dollars. After 
the salary had been fixed, I simply said, "I consider this to be an agree- 
ment between the officials of the charge and their pastor. I shall try 
to do the work which you have a right to expect me to do, and I shall 
expect you to raise this money which you have promised. . . ," 2 ' 

When the presiding elder reported the assessments on the charge for 
Conference collections, including missions, I said to the Quarterly Con- 
ference that, while of course I expected the stewards to give me their 
full support in my effort, I would make myself responsible for the rais- 
ing of the Conference collections and I hoped to secure a larger amount 
than the assessment for missions. Whereupon my balky steward sprang 
up and spoke out briefly but emphatically, "I do not believe in foreign 
missions. I will not give one penny." 

2. This is taken from the "third person" draft. The "first person" draft gives the 
salary as $45.00 per month, $540.00 per year. 



With all the daring of youth I replied, "Well, if so, you may be a 
church member, but you are not a Christian. How do we happen to be 
sitting in this quarterly meeting this morning? How did the gospel 
come to us? It was because our Lord commanded the disciples, 'Go ye 
into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, beginning 
in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost 
part of the earth.' And they obeyed him, and they preached in Asia, 
and from there they brought the gospel to Europe, and they sailed from 
Europe and brought the gospel to America, and we are sitting in this 
church here in Charlotte County, Virginia, today because the disciples 
of our Master obeyed his last command. Any man who is not willing 
to take his orders from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, cannot claim 
to be a Christian." 

The Quarterly Conference, not knowing the intensity of my mission- 
ary spirit, was quite surprised at this exhortation on the subject of mis- 
sions. My antimission brother made no reply. He had a very thick 
skin and at first sat near the rear in the church, and I am sure he did 
not feel very comfortable under my preaching for some months, but he 
gradually moved up towards the front. When after the two weeks of 
my special meeting I took the missionary offering, he surprised the whole 
church by leading the subscription with a goodly sum. . . . 3 

My wife and I were both fond of children. The latter part of May, 
1889, a baby came into our home. She was the first of our nine children. 
We named her Lura Lee after her mother and her grandmother, Mrs. 
Virginia Lee Bennett, whose mother was a descendant of the Fairfax 
Lees. By the time our baby was a month old she was in the buggy with 
her father and mother riding all over the circuit, and as she was a 
sweet, well-behaved baby, we were doubly welcomed in the homes of 
the people, especially by the mothers and daughters. . . . 

The year sped by all too quickly. Our people really loved us and we 
loved them and wanted and expected to stay with them. It was decided 
that the time had come to build a parsonage, and after much discussion, 
claims, and counterclaims, in which we very wisely took sides with no 
congregation, a very comfortable, well-located house was built, but it 
was not furnished for occupancy until after the Annual Conference. 

During the year protracted meetings were held at all churches, re- 

3. At this time Cannon began a campaign to raise money for the construction of a 
church "at the railroad station near the center of the Circuit at Drake's Branch." "At 
the very height of the dark tobacco season" he went to Lynchburg, where "much money 
was being spent by the Charlotte planters with the Lynchburg merchants." He was 
successful in raising enough money to complete plans for the construction of the Drake's 
Branch Church. 



suiting in quite a harvest from the sowing of the previous months. A 
number of young men and women were added to the church who 
became leaders later on. The pastor was paid not only the full amount 
promised but sixty-five dollars more, and forty-five dollars was paid 
for traveling expenses, making a total of over six hundred dollars, the 
largest amount the circuit had paid in very many years. The Con- 
ference collections were all paid in full, and the missionary offerings 
were far in excess of the assessment. The mother, the father, the baby, 
Lura Lee, and the faithful Dexter had all been well-fed, and the preacher 
went to Conference with money in his pocket and some money in the 

There was no thought other than returning for another year. The 
[last] Quarterly Conference told the presiding elder that he must send 
the preacher back. The Presbyterians, and even the Episcopalians on 
the circuit, joined in a petition and sent it to the presiding elder. . . . 
Without any consultation or warning, I was read out for Newport 
News. We could hardly believe that the change had been made. The 
presiding elder, Brother Amis, was entirely sincere in thinking that it 
was a promotion for me; but I did not so regard it, and I protested very 
vigorously and asked him what he had done with the petitions of the 
people. But he then said that the change was made necessary in order 
properly to adjust other appointments. My study of the appointments 
did not convince me that the change was necessary, and I formed an 
opinion, which has been somewhat strengthened, that two presiding 
elders very often arrange to exchange two preachers without giving the 
matter as thorough consideration as it should have. 

However the change had been made and it seemed impossible to 
do anything about it. It was with sad hearts that we returned to Char- 
lotte to pack up our things, to sell the faithful Dexter, and to bid goodby 
to the people with whom we had spent such a happy year — as happy 
indeed as any in the many years that have followed. I said as little as 
I could, for the new pastor was a college mate for whom I had genuine 
regard and respect, but to whom I did not want to turn over my Char- 
lotte County people. We purposely took as few days as possible for 
our leave-taking, as we were sorrowful enough without having too many 
personal goodbys. An indelible picture has been that of our noble Court 
House steward, William A. Smith, after we had taken dinner at his 
home, carrying Lura Lee in his arms to the buggy, kissing her gendy, 
then giving her back to her mother, and saying, "That kiss is for all of 
you." Then he took of? his hat and waved it to us as long as we were in 
sight as we drove slowly down the road to take the train at Drake's Branch 


for our new appointment at Newport News. My wife and I wept openly 
at the parting. . . . 

There could not have been a much greater change in our type of 
work. Charlotte County was one of the old, settled, country districts 
of Virginia, where nearly all the people had known each other from 
childhood. Newport News was a new town, the people coming literally 
from nearly every state in the union. Probably about half came from 
near-by Virginia counties and cities; a very large group came from 
Philadelphia and other ship-building towns in the North; many others 
came into the new town to grow up with it and to make a place for 
themselves. In addition, there were the restless ones, the rolling stones, 
never satisfied, moving on from one place to another. 

The Virginia Methodists in the town had organized themselves into 
an independent charge. A neat church building had been erected in a 
central location, and a very tiny house, with six tiny rooms and a very 
tiny back yard, not far from the church, had been rented for a parsonage, 
at a cost of fifteen dollars per month, which I still think to have been 
nearly double its value. The Board of Stewards was composed princi- 
pally of young, fairly progressive men, who were genuinely interested 
in the church, and who wanted to go ahead as rapidly as possible with- 
out incurring heavy obligations. They gave us as warm and kindly a 
reception as we could possibly have expected. And as there was no help 
for what had been done, we gave ourselves up unreservedly to the work 
of our new field of labor. 

A goodly number of Northern Methodists, mostly from Philadelphia, 
had just moved to Newport News to take work in the shipyards. Sev- 
eral of them were officials paid large salaries; the others were skilled 
workmen with good wages. There was only one small Northern Meth- 
odist church in eastern Virginia, located at Phoebus, about nine miles 
from Newport News. The presiding elder and the pastor of that church 
came over and had several conferences with the Northern Methodists at 
Newport News and endeavored to organize a church, negotiations con- 
tinuing for several weeks. I wrote to the bishop in charge about the 
matter, and advised the Southern Methodist stewards to enter into no 
discussion with the Northern Methodists concerning a separate church 
organization. My wife and I visited in the homes of the Philadelphians, 
carrying with us the irresistible baby, Lura Lee, and inviting them all to 
j attend the church services and the Sunday School. Having very re- 
cently lived for three years in Princeton, with frequent visits to Phila- 
delphia, and being well acquainted by sight and reputation with many 
of the outstanding preachers of the Philadelphia Conference, I was able 



to talk with some understanding of Philadelphia church life. After two 
or three months I approached the most active church worker [s], both 
among the salaried men and among the skilled workmen, with the 
proposal that they join my church and be elected stewards. This pro- 
posal was accepted. The announcement of the election of these two ad- 
ditional stewards was received with great favor by the Northern group; 
all talk of a separate Northern Methodist Church passed away, and the 
church had no more loyal members, and the Cannons no better friends, 
than some of these Northern people. 

Two years were spent at Newport News. They were crowded with 
hard work and abounded with many interesting incidents. I was able to 
systematize my work as I could not do on the Charlotte Circuit. There 
the only week which I could give to study was the week before the 
morning Sunday preaching at Charlotte Court House. The mornings 
of most of that week were given to close study with reference to my 
pulpit work and the evenings to general reading. At Newport News I 
gave the entire morning to study unless there was some unusual inter- 
ruption. Every afternoon was given to pastoral visiting, which without 
a buggy or automobile in a town of the unusual distances in Newport 
News was quite a strenuous undertaking, especially as the baby car- 
riage usually went along. Most of the evenings also were taken up with 
church meetings or in visiting the homes where it was not possible to 
see the men in the daytime. There was a great scarcity of houses in 
Newport News so that men could not bring their families with them, 
and it was a difficult matter to keep in touch with men who had no 
home but a boardinghouse. . . . 

I believed that the business of the preacher was to preach the Word 
of God, yet I also firmly believed that the Word of God applied to 
every form of human activity, that the Christian ideal, spirit, and motive 
should permeate and control all the living of a follower of Christ. My 
pulpit, therefore, was not only the place to preach the gospel of per- 
sonal salvation from sin, but to proclaim the duties of a Christian, his 
obligations, and his responsibility to live everywhere "as becometh the 
gospel of Christ." There was never any hesitant note in my preaching; 
what I could not positively declare, I did not discuss in uncertain, 
doubtful language. . . . 

During my years as a station pastor it was my habit to go to bed im- 
mediately after the morning service and to sleep one or two hours be- 
fore eating dinner. After dinner there was an hour or so with the 
family, and then I went to the study to prepare for the evening service. 
I felt that I must go into the pulpit at night with as much life and 



vigor as in the morning. My night congregations at Newport News 
were remarkable, a great proportion of them being men who were 
usually crowding in and filling every corner. On whatever subject I 
preached, there were always some paragraphs of direct appeal to accept 
Jesus Christ as Saviour, first of all, and then as Lord and Master. I 
knew that some of these men heard preaching very rarely, and I wanted 
to appeal to the souls of every one of them. Nearly every Sunday I was 
kept in the church to talk with strangers, and there were frequent addi- 
tions to the church on profession of faith, as well as by letter. 

It soon became evident that if the church was to fulfill its mission 
it must be greatly enlarged to hold the congregations which, especially 
at night, tried to get seats. There was no money in sight, but feeling 
that it was a genuine missionary work, I had plans made for an exten- 
sion of the church building to seat 50 per cent more. With those plans, 
I went over to Norfolk, where Methodism was very strong, and there 
went to the offices and the homes of the leading Methodists asking them 
to pledge certain definite amounts, to make up the money needed for 
the new building. I also applied to the shipyard, railroad, and elevator 
companies to aid in furnishing needed accommodations for the workers 
in their plants. The effort was successful and by the end of my first 
year the "Gunbarrel Church," as it was called from its length, had been 
completed on Washington Avenue and was filled to overflowing nearly 
every Sunday night. 

The city of Newport News was very widely scattered. After my 
return for the second year, I realized that if the children were to be 
reached, Sunday Schools must be organized in the east and north ends 
of the city. Some of the members, as is usually the case, opposed such 
action, as likely to weaken the Washington Avenue Church. I preached 
one Sunday morning on the text, "There is that scattereth, and yet in- 
creased!," and "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shall find it 
after many days." At the close of the sermon, I asked to meet mem- 
bers of the church who would volunteer to work in Sunday Schools at 
the east and north ends. A goodly number responded, the Sunday 
Schools were organized, chapels were built on convenient lots, and I 
preached at each end once or twice monthly. From these Sunday Schools 
developed the present strong churches of Grace and Chestnut Avenue. 

It became evident that while the Washington Avenue Church had 
an excellent location, yet a new church building with Sunday School 
classrooms was greatly needed. It was decided to sell the property and 
to erect a modern church building in an equally central location, but on 
a lower-priced lot. This plan, while carefully considered, was not car- 


ried into effect during my pastorate, but a few years later. The Wash- 
ington Avenue property was sold, and the present Trinity Church 

The greater part of the land upon which the city of Newport News 
has been built had been bought up by one company before the city was 
formally launched. This land was plotted into lots which were sold to 
the incoming settlers for business, residence, and manufacturing pur- 
poses. There was a prominent real-estate agent in Washington Avenue 
Church with whom I was very intimate. From my own observation in 
pastoral visiting and in the office of this real-estate agent, I saw that the 
demand for houses at a moderate rental was very great, and that to 
secure good, settled, married people as citizens, it was important that 
this need should be supplied. I bought lots and on some of them 
erected a row of six-room houses with modern appliances, which were 
easily rented at a fair price, until they were sold several years later. To 
do this I used my own money and credit, and took into partnership with 
me an intimate friend. 

This was the first of very many business transactions in which I 
engaged throughout my life. I never considered that there was any 
reason why a minister of the gospel should not prudently invest what- 
ever money might come to him properly, provided it did not inter- 
fere with the proper performance of his duties as a minister, in what- 
ever position he might be called to serve. It was known to the Newport 
News congregation that its pastor had some money and credit, and 
there was no criticism offered to his building and owning [rental] houses. 
While the investment was not very profitable in dollars and cents, yet 
the experiences with my tenants added much to my knowledge of human 
nature, and after the houses were sold, that form of investment was never 
again made. 

Newport News, as is the case with most seaport towns, was cursed 
with many saloons, and with a red-light district which was recruited 
largely from the colored population. While an unceasing warfare for 
decency, respectability, and good morals was waged, the population for 
many years was of such a floating and transient character that it was 
difficult to control anything but the central part of the city. On the 
other side of the railroad tracks there was a section known as Hell's 
Half Acre. Some of the best members of Washington Avenue Church 
lived in the Acre. 

One family had come from a near-by county, and the father had 
secured work at the piers. The mother and children attended Washing- 
ton Avenue Church, the father coming occasionally at night. He was 


a self-willed, high-tempered man, and soon after he came to the city 
he began to frequent the saloons in Hell's Half Acre, sometimes drink- 
ing to excess and coming home very violent and dangerous. There was a 
baby in the house, of whom he was very fond. One night, while in a 
half -drunken condition, he took the baby into the bed with him, and in the 
night overlaid it and smothered it. His distress was very great, and he sat 
in the house moaning and sobbing. The mother sent for her pastor. I 
came and sent for some of the ladies of the church. The father had 
spent so much drinking and gambling at the saloon that the family were 
practically pauperized. There were no decent clothes with which to dress 
the dead child for burial. The ladies bought clothes and shoes and a 
little coffin, and promised to return the next morning for the funeral 
services. On the next morning when they came, they found the mother 
weeping and the body of the child lying in the coffin entirely bare. The 
evening before, crazed with appetite and threatening his wife and the 
children if they interfered, the father took the clothes and shoes from 
the body, carried them to one of the lowest dives, traded them for liquor, 
and was found the next morning, in common parlance, dead drunk. 

Other harrowing experiences occurred during my pastorate at New- 
port News. It was the first time that I had come face to face with the 
liquor traffic in its worst form, as pastors in our cities see it as they go 
into the homes of their people. My hatred of the traffic and my deter- 
mination to fight it steadily grew. . . . 

In September, 1891, the second Ecumenical Methodist Conference was 
held in the Metropolitan Methodist Church in the city of Washington. 
I made it a habit to attend all important church gatherings, especially 
of Methodism, and I decided to attend the Washington Conference 
the entire ten days. In order to help pay my expenses I arranged with 
Dr. Paul Whitehead, at that time my presiding elder and assistant 
editor of the Richmond Advocate, to write reports of the Conference for 
the Advocate. This engagement gave me a seat in the very front among 
the editors and correspondents of the church papers. 

It was a great experience for a young preacher. I had heard of T. B. 
Stephenson, the president of the Wesleyan Conference, of William 
Arthur, author of The Tongue of Fire, and of the incomparable Hugh 
Price Hughes, and now I saw them in the flesh. I had been taking the 
New Yor{ Advocate, edited by that paragon of editors, Dr. James M. 
Buckley, and had imagined him as a man of large frame and tall in 
stature. I was amazed to see a short, slender man with black side- 
whiskers and a bald head, but when the man got into action, I knew 


that it was Buckley. My articles which appeared in the Richmond Advo- 
cate were my first real attempt at newspaper writing. . . . 

The Virginia Conference of 1891 was held in Petersburg, and was 
presided over by Bishop John C. Keener, for whom I had great respect 
and admiration. He was not only great in the pulpit, but he was a 
mastermind in the cabinet in more senses than one. He was a veritable 
terror to presiding elders who liked to work out a "slate" among them- 
selves and get its approval by the bishop, either as a whole or by piece- 
meal. At that Conference Bishop Keener kept his intentions as to the 
appointments to himself. He listened to the presiding elders, permitted 
them to put down things as they desired them, and made his own ap- 
pointments alone in his room. 

There was no provision in the Discipline at that time requiring that 
the appointments be read in the presence of the presiding elders before 
reading them to the Conference. Having made a very strong, character- 
istic talk, Bishop Keener read his list of appointments. From the very 
beginning the bombshells began to drop; and the preachers, especially 
the presiding elders, sat up all over the conference room. One of them, 
Dr. Alexander G. Brown, at the close of the reading of his district, could 
not control himself, but broke into a hearty laugh, which brought a 
glare from the fierce eyes of the Bishop. The slate, which certain presid- 
ing elders thought had certainly been approved without close scrutiny 
by the Bishop, was smashed from top to bottom. . . . 

Much to my surprise, I was taken from Newport News, where I 
believed that I was greatly needed, and sent to Central Portsmouth, 
where I did not think I was especially needed. The wife of the former 
pastor of Central was ill in the parsonage in the last stages of tuber- 
culosis. After two or three weeks it became evident that she would 
never be well enough to be moved to Farmville, to which charge her 
husband had been appointed. It was suggested that I go to Farmville 
and leave the other man at Portsmouth. 

As there had been efforts made by several presiding elders to get 
changes in various appointments, Bishop Keener thought at first that 
this was simply another effort for change. Realizing the absolute neces- 
sity for some change, I myself wrote to Bishop Keener a statement of 
the exact facts in the case, and asked that some adjustment be made by 
which the former pastor could remain at the charge. Promptly upon 
receipt of the letter, Bishop Keener wired authorizing an exchange in 
appointments. As I had never unpacked my trunks, I went immediately 
to Farmville, where I had a truly delightful pastorate for nearly three 



years. I was then twenty-seven years old, probably the youngest pastor 
the church had ever had. . . . 

The return to the heart of Southside Virginia was very pleasing. 
The people were similar to those on Charlotte Circuit, and many of 
them had relatives in Charlotte. The money crop of Southside Virginia 
was tobacco, and Farmville had a strong tobacco market competing with 
Lynchburg and Petersburg. The principal businessmen were what were 
called in those days "commission merchants." They loaned money and 
furnished supplies to farmers, waiting until the sale of tobacco for re- 
payment of money and supplies advanced. This was not a good system, 
but it had grown up through many years. While it is capable of great 
abuses and can be very oppressive to the borrower, most of the com- 
mission merchants in Farmville were men of genuine Christian character 
with good reputation for justice and fair play, and most of them leading 
members in the churches. 

The Methodist church was the best located in the community. The 
building was comparatively new and very handsome for that time, seat- 
ing, with the gallery and choir loft, between three and four hundred 
people. . . . The church membership was composed, as a whole, of 
substantial, well-to-do people. The poor list was very small. The con- 
gregation was of more than average intelligence and devotion to their 
church. There were some devout, spiritually minded people among 
both the more prosperous and the poorer membership of the church. 
The church had never been sprung to measure up to its real capacity, 
but had been content to provide necessities and some comforts for the 
pastor, and to meet the assessments for the Conference collections. The 
chairman of the Board of Stewards was a prosperous, largehearted, gen- 
erous man, who willingly responded to every effort for a forward 
movement, and most of the board, especially the younger men, wanted 
to do more than the church had ever done. But there were some who 
held back and were not enthusiastic about any proposition which in- 
volved increased giving. 

The treasurer of the church had been a steward for over thirty years 
and the treasurer for many years. He was a man of unimpeachable 
moral character. The church was probably first in his thoughts, but he 
considered one of his principal duties to the church to be that of a real 
watchdog of the treasury. He had never been able to absorb the idea 
that the salaries of the pastor and the presiding elder were as much 
debts of the church as insurance, sexton's hire, coal bill, repairs, etc. 
These latter were debts, the other was a promise to pay whenever the 
money could be raised. It was, therefore, his habit as treasurer of the 


church to pay all the incidental bills at the beginning of the Conference 
year, and let the pastor wait until everything else was paid. For some 
reason, he seemed to prefer to keep the pastor on short rations during 
the year, and at the end of the year to give him a large check with a 
bow and a smile. Many of the stewards recognized very fully the 
characteristics of the treasurer, but he was a difficult person to tackle as 
he was inclined to be short and crusty wtih anybody who questioned 
his methods; while they did not approve of these methods, yet he was 
so honest and had held his position so long that they disliked to do or 
say anything that would wound his feelings. . . . 

While in Farmville I had my first taste of what afterward became 
the greatest work of my life. The State Normal School was directly 
across from the Methodist Church. A large proportion of the students 
were from Methodist families, and, as the year went on, the girls came 
in ever-increasing numbers until the church was filled except during 
the vacation months of the school. This large proportion of students 
in my congregation greatly affected the matter and the manner of my 
preaching. I learned that whenever a message is so framed and de- 
livered as to reach young people, it will be good for the rest of the 

Before very long, continuous pastoral visitation made the pastor and 
the people feel that they knew each other when they met at church 
service on Sunday. Because of these personal contacts, men and women 
[who] had been simply Sunday morning churchgoers, now came both 
morning and night. Recognizing, however, that I was preaching to a 
conservative group of people, I made no great effort for an ingathering 
until the second winter. Then, after two or three Sundays of prepara- 
tion, I began a series of meetings which continued with ever-increasing 
power for over three weeks. The church membership had been 
stirred by twelve months of direct gospel preaching, and when the 
time came to reap the harvest of the sowing, it was delightful to find so 
many of the members who had never done any personal work before 
gladly attempting to do whatever they could. A number of men in 
business life and a large number of younger people, both from the town 
and from the college, came to the altar and made profession of faith. 
It was the largest ingathering the church had had for many years, and 
there was a quickening of the life of the church which continued 
throughout my pastorate. 

One of the men who desired to be admitted into the church on pro- 
fession of faith was a large, heavy-built man, weighing over two hun- 
dred pounds. I announced that I would receive members into the 


church on a certain Sunday and that I wished to talk with all who 
desired to join. When the stout brother came, he requested to be bap- 
tized by immersion, and in a running stream of water, for, he said, 
John the Baptist baptized our Lord in the River Jordan, a running 
stream. The Methodist Church believes that the mode of baptism is 
entirely nonessential and, therefore, its ministers baptize in whatever 
way the candidate desires. 

The only running stream close to Farmville is the Appomattox River, 
the water of which was diverted to run a large flour mill, and the 
only place on the banks which could be reached was a short distance 
down from the mill hole. That seemed to be the only convenient place, 
and one Sunday afternoon the young pastor, weighing less than one 
hundred forty pounds, attempted to immerse the round and weighty 
brother. Some of the stewards protested against the baptism at that 
spot as dangerous, but after careful examination it was clear that the 
most that could happen would be that both the pastor and the candidate 
might lose their footing and be swept down into the shallow water, 
which, while not very dignified, would not likely be very dangerous. 
Two of the stewards, however, clad themselves in high rubber boots 
and prepared to lend their assistance. 

I realized that the service was very solemn to the candidate and did 
everything possible to produce a serious impression upon the large 
crowd assembled on the bank. Although I had told the candidate most 
earnestly to make no struggle while in the water, this advice was not 
heeded. When the time came for the act of immersion, I found myself 
struggling with a frightened, unwieldly man who could not regain 
his footing, but would have been swept down the river, dragging me 
with him, had not the two stewards stepped promptly into the water and 
brought us to the shore. Having in mind that something of the kind 
might happen, I had arranged for the choir to sing "O Happy Day 
Which Fixed My Choice," which they did very promptly, the whole 
crowd on the bank joining in, and the serious character of the ceremony 
was saved. The candidate became an earnest, devoted member of the 
church and my lifelong friend. 

I felt that the time had come to spring the church to a higher level 
in its offerings for work outside of its own community. I knew that it 
would be necessary to take the matter up first and work it through the 
Board of Stewards. In the second Conference year the treasurer had 
followed his usual custom of paying everything else before he paid the 
pastor anything, and only twenty dollars had been paid before Christmas. 
A meeting of the Board of Stewards had been called to meet after 


prayer meeting on the Wednesday night before Christmas. I had bought 
a very serviceable sack suit of clothes while at Princeton, cut a little 
shorter than the ordinary clerical sack suit. At the stewards' meeting 
after the prayer meeting service was over, the treasurer, who did not 
approve of such informal dressing by the pastor, especially when con- 
ducting the service, said in crusty fashion, "I see the little brother tonight 
has on a short jacket in which to preach the word of God." The whole 
board sat up to listen. Very quietly but deliberately I said: 

I wish the treasurer was as much concerned about the shortness of my 
salary as he is about the shortness of my coat. I have had the magnificent 
sum of twenty dollars during the past five weeks, whereas I am sure 
the treasurer has received two or three hundred dollars. I think the time 
has come for the Board of Stewards to recognize that the promise to pay the 
pastor is just as much a promise in the sight of God as is the promise 
to pay the insurance, the electric light bills, the coal bills, and other obligations 
of the church. I do not think the pastor should be a preferred creditor, but 
I think he should at least be on an equal basis with other obligations of the 
church. I hope, when I leave this church, it will have established a custom 
to pay the pastor weekly, or at least monthly, just as many of you men are 
paid your salaries. Your present pastor can live. [Neither] he nor his family 
will starve, but he believes that this church should be run on a normal busi- 
ness basis, just as was the church at Newport News from which he came. 

The chairman of the board leaned forward on his cane and said, ". . . 
the little preacher is right, and I hope someone will make a motion that 
from this time on the treasurer is to put the claim of the pastor as equal to 
every other claim, and to pay him his salary the first of every month." 
The treasurer was too much disgusted and chagrined to recover himself. 
The motion was made by one of the younger brethren and voted for by 
the whole board, except the treasurer. Certainly nobody voted in the 
negative. . . . 

We formed some of the closest friendships of our lives with mem- 
bers of the Farmville church. 4 As has been indicated, they were a 
homogeneous, high-type group of Southern men and women, with 
but one Northern man of any prominence in the community. He, like 
most sensible Northern people when they move South, had himself 
become fully Southern in his viewpoint. There were few people in 
Farmville who were violent in their expressions or who thought that 
"dam' Yankee" was one word. Like most genuine Southerners, they 
believed firmly that the South was right, and that Lee's army not only 

4. Two sons were born in Farmville, James III in November, 1892, and Wallace 
Bennett, September, 1894. A second daughter, Virginia, had been born in 1891 while 
the Cannons were at Newport News. The other children who lived past infancy were 
Richard M., David P., and Edward L. Lura Lee, previously mentioned, was the eldest child. 



never had been beaten in any fair fight, but that the Yankees never 
could have beaten them, had they not dragged in all the foreign elements 
possible and compelled Lee to surrender by an army overpowering in 

While all my home training had been intensely Southern, my three 
years at Princeton had brought me into contact with Northern men of 
the highest type. I had learned to understand their viewpoint and knew 
that respect, even admiration, for the South and its people was very 
common among the best of them. At the Ecumenical Conference in 
Washington, while I disagreed very positively with many things which 
were said, I began to visualize and long for a more united Methodist 
effort for the evangelization of the United States and of the world. So 
in the homes of the most intelligent, broadminded of my people, I 
frequently discussed the necessity for a more careful discrimination in 
forming estimates of men. I insisted that the greatest block to progress 
was ignorance, that dislike and denunciation of people in mass would 
be greatly softened by contacts with individuals. But it was not easy 
to change the sentiment of men and women whose fathers and brothers 
and sons had been killed in the War, and whose plantations had been 
swept bare by Grant's army as it passed through on its way to Appo- 
mattox. . . . 

In 1893 the Farmville District Conference voted to establish a 
monthly district newspaper, the Farmville District Methodist, and re- 
quested me to act as editor and publisher. I requested the Reverend L. 
S. Reed and the Reverend Thomas H. Campbell, the presiding elder, 
to be associate editors. While I had done some writing for newspapers 
and magazines before, this was the beginning of my editorial work, 
which continued uninterruptedly from the summer of 1893 until the 
first of December, 1918 — twenty-five years. It was the beginning of a 
new era in my work. While placing a high estimate on the work of 
the preacher and the pastor, yet after a careful estimate of the results 
of twenty-five years of preaching and teaching through the printed 
page, I am fully satisfied that I could never have accomplished what I 
tried to do in educational, social, and church activities generally, had 
it not been that I was the editor of a paper which I owned and con- 
trolled, and through which my voice could be heard in attacking evil 
and in supporting the good. My paper was my right arm of power 
throughout the twenty-five years, and it is difficult to consider my other 
work properly without recognizing from time to time the primary 
importance and great help of the newspapers which I controlled. 

Almost immediately after the establishment of the paper, I declared, 


as my editorial policy, that in addition to furnishing local news of the . 
churches throughout the District, general church news, and a medium 
for discussion of church work and doctrine, the paper would emphasize 
especially the great causes of education, prohibition, and missions. My 
position on all these subjects was well known to my own congregation, 
as I had discussed all of them freely in my pulpit and had urged the 
closing of the saloons in Farmville. I had appeared before the town 
council and asked for action against the saloons, and now, under the 
heading "Forefront of the Battle," I printed facts and figures showing 
the evil results of the traffic, and writing as strong editorials as I could 
write against it. 

In my efforts to close the Farmville saloons I first faced the solidarity 
of the liquor traffic. The State Liquor Dealers' Association sent their 
attorney for the state of Virginia to Farmville to help defend the saloons. 
In a community of that kind, the attacks upon local ministers by liquor 
attorneys were somewhat carefully guarded, the principal argument being 
that ministers should confine themselves to the preaching of the gospel 
and leave business and political questions for the citizens to setde. I 
countered with the fact that the liquor traffic meddled with my business, 
that I was printing a newspaper, and that my printers got intoxicating 
liquors at the saloons in the town, which rendered them inefficient, de- 
layed the issuing of the paper, and increased the expense of publication. 
This was the beginning of an open warfare with the organized liquor 
traffic, which has continued with ever-increasing intensity for over 
forty years. . . . 

In May, 1894, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, was held in the city of Memphis, and the Farmville 
church voted the pastor a holiday and a purse that he might attend the 
Conference. The circulation of the Farmville District Methodist among 
all the preachers and the leading laymen of the Virginia Conference, 
and among the editorial offices of all Southern Methodist newspapers, 
had made my name known to those who had seen and read the paper, 
so that I not only had a seat at the correspondents' table, but many mem- 
bers of the Conference came up and greeted me by name. 

Bishop McTyeire had died, and Bishop Keener was now the senior 
Bishop. He had aged somewhat, but the great personality was still 
active, and when stirred he still spoke with great force and power. He 
was called home from the General Conference to attend the funeral 
of his daughter, but returned and preached the next Sunday on the text, 
"And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the* 
law to fail." The text was used as a connecting link between the great 


parables of the prodigal son, the unjust steward, and the rich man and 
Lazarus. The picture of the contrasts, of the possibilities of life, and of 
the necessary results that flow from conduct, were vivid, realistic, start- 
ling, and overwhelming. There was, in my opinion, no preaching equal 
to it at that General Conference. . . . 

The most disturbing matter ... [to come before the Conference] 
was the trial of Bishop R. K. Hargrove for maladministration in the 
case of Dr. D. C. Kelley. Dr. Kelley had been a missionary in China 
and was later missionary secretary. When I was a student at Randolph- 
Macon, Dr. Kelley made an address at the Virginia Conference in Rich- 
mond, which I have always thought to have been one of the finest 
missionary appeals I have ever heard. Dr. Kelley was nominated to 
run for governor of Tennessee on a prohibition ticket and resigned his 
charge to campaign the state. Bishop Hargrove, in charge of the Tennes- 
see Conference, was instrumental in having him put on trial and found 
guilty of leaving his charge without permission. The case was appealed 
to the General Conference, and charges brought against Bishop Har- 
grove's administration. The result was a deadfall; the verdict against 
Kelley was reversed, and the charge against Bishop Hargrove's adminis- 
tration was dismissed. 

The outstanding figure in the General Conference [1894] was Dr. 
W. W. Smith, Chancellor of the Randolph-Macon system of schools 
and colleges. 5 At that General Conference he first loomed large before 
the church as its greatest educational leader. The organization of a 
General Board of Education was the issue. The battle of contracted, 
provincial, educational policies as over against a broad church-wide policy 
was fought out both in committee and on the General Conference floor, 
and Dr. Smith was the plumed knight who led to victory the believers 
in the church-wide policy. The leading opponent of the new plan was 
Dr. Warren A. Candler of Georgia, a brilliant and successful president of 
Emory College. 6 Dr. Candler was entirely sincere in his attitude, but 
the General Conference disagreed with him, and with great unanimity 

5. William Waugh Smith (1845-1912) was twice wounded while in the Confederate 
Army, taught at Randolph-Macon from 1878 to 1886, and served as president from 
1886 to 1897. He was chancellor of the Randolph-Macon System of Colleges and Acad- 
emies from then until his death. 

6. Warren A. Candler (1 857-1941) entered the North Georgia Conference of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1875). He served as president of Emory College 
from 1888 to 1898, was elected bishop, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1898 and 
chancellor of Emory University in 191 4. He served in both capacities until his retire- 
ment from the chancellorship in 1922. He remained active as bishop until 1934 (Alfred 
M. Pierce, Giant Against the S\y: The Life of Bishop Warren A\in Candler, New York: 
Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1948). 



Dr. Smith was elected first General Secretary of Education. I followed 
with keen interest the debates in the committees and on the floor of the 
General Conference on the question of education, and they had a great 
influence upon the decision which I was called upon to make a few 
weeks later on. 

Numerous contacts were made at that General Conference with men 
from different sections of the Church, and men who had formerly been 
nothing but names were now clothed with flesh and blood, and I could 
make more accurate estimates of their personalities. John R. Pepper 
was already the leading layman of the First Methodist Church at 
Memphis, where the General Conference was held. A native of South- 
west Virginia, he had come to Memphis when quite a young man, had 
thrown himself at once into active church work, and had already been 
the superintendent of the First Church Sunday School for many years. 7 
He will be mentioned later on. But at that General Conference, after 
being entertained in his home, I placed John R. Pepper in the very 
front of Methodist laymen. He was not only diligent about the King's 
business and devoted to the Church, but intelligent, broad-minded, 
wise in counsel, and above all, a really lovable man. We have never had, 
to my knowledge, any other layman in our Methodism who combined 
such qualities in equal measure. The acquaintance made at that General 
Conference later became more intimate by close association in important 
church undertakings and developed into a warm friendship continuing 
until Mr. Pepper's death. 

Upon my return from the General Conference, I printed an account 
of the Conference proceedings in which I wrote with rather unusual 
plainness concerning both persons and things. Some descriptions of what 
occurred and some characterizations of individuals, while enjoyed and 
appreciated by some as frank reports, were not appreciated by some 
others; and the article created much comment throughout the Church. 
Indeed, nearly ten years later, one of the brethren whom I had pictured 
quite faithfully, "including the wart" in the picture, came to the Virginia 
Conference and discussed with me certain policies on which we were 
agreed. He told me then that he had been quite indignant when he had 
read my characterization, but that when he showed it to his wife, she 
told him, "He ought not to have said it in print, but he told the truth, 
and you can and should rid yourself of the defects he mentions." 

Shortly after my return from the General Conference I received a 

7. John Robertson Pepper (1850-1931), a wholesale grocer and president of grocery 
stores in Greenville, Greenwood, Yazoo City, and Rosedale, Mississippi, was author of 
various books on Sunday School work. 



visit from George P. Adams, a member of the Blackstone Methodist 
Church and a trustee of the corporation which had been granted a 
charter to build and maintain a training school at Blackstone, Virginia. 
The Reverend Joshua S. Hunter, a former presiding elder of the Farm- 
ville District, was probably the originator of the plan to build a training 
school at Blackstone under the auspices of the Methodist Church, to be 
owned and controlled by the Farmville District Conference through a 
board of trustees selected by that Conference. A site of six acres of land 
and five thousand dollars had been contributed by the Blackstone Land 
Company, and the citizens of Blackstone and the near-by Methodist 
circuits had also contributed to the fund. The trustees had erected and 
roofed in the hull of a brick building, but the money ran out, the work 
had ceased, and the building's windows and doors had been boarded up. 
It seemed as though the effort was doomed to failure. The trustees 
[had then] voted to issue $8,000 worth of $100.00 bonds, the most of 
which had been placed with great effort, and work was begun again. 

The trustees met and decided that some man must be found who had 
sufficient money and credit to enable him to furnish the building with 
proper equipment when finished and to assume the responsibility of 
employment of a faculty and of meeting the expenses of running the 
school. When Mr. Adams presented the matter to me, I agreed to con- 
sider it, but gave little assurance of acceptance of the position offered. 
A visit was made to Blackstone, and a conference was had with the 
Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, after which I felt under 
a strong obligation to study thoroughly the proposed opportunity and 

From a financial standpoint there was nothing inviting. It would 
require the investment of all of my money and credit to make even a 
fair trial of the school. The building was fairly well-planned, but the 
funds available would complete only the first and second floors. It 
would require the expenditure of a considerable sum of money to make 
the grounds attractive. There was no money to purchase necessary equip- 
ment for schoolrooms, bedrooms, dining room, and kitchen. There was 
a bonded debt of eight thousand dollars, with interest of four hundred 
eighty dollars annually, which would have to be paid from the earnings 
of the school. It would require cash and credit to get the school in 
shape and run it for the first year, and I would have to depend upon 
current receipts to help meet current bills. 

[I] . . . was to start with no nucleus for a faculty. Teachers must be 
found, and with sufficient qualifications to make the prospectus of the 
school attractive. The student body, outside of a group of girls from 



the community, must be literally hand-picked. The town of Blackstone 
was not sufficiently attractive or well-known to make the location of 
the school a drawing card. Not one of my close friends desired me to 
undertake that work. Some few thought that it might be well enough 
for me to engage in church-school work, but under favorable conditions, 
and with no such heavy responsibility, or with such possibilities of 
failure. Nearly all my friends opposed my going into school work at 
all, and insisted that results had demonstrated that I should remain in 
the pastorate. 

My father was greatly distressed at the idea and wrote protesting 
against what he called a "preposterous undertaking." He emphasized 
the training for the ministry which he had tried to help his son to secure. 
He emphasized the high esteem in which I had been held in all three 
of the charges which I had served. If the pastorate was to be given up 
for school work, he emphasized the undesirability of the educational 
work which had been offered. He deplored the idea of attempting to 
run a small boarding school in the "piney woods" at the edge of a small 
country town. And finally, he emphasized the duty which a husband 
and father owed to his wife and children, to see to it that they were 
properly clothed and had the comforts of life. My father's letters gave 
me more concern than the views of anybody or anything. 

But there were certain factors in the proposition which appealed very 
strongly to me. While difficulties were great, they put me on my mettle. 
There was the opportunity to build an institution on my own and not 
on another man's foundation. The contract proposed by the trustees 
gave me absolute authority in the selection of the faculty, the formula- 
tion of the course of study, the charges for tuition and board, the method 
of discipline, and the relation of the institution to the Church, the 
charter providing that the trustees must be elected or confirmed by the 
Farmville District Conference. 

There was, indeed, as I saw it, great opportunity for a life work. The 
question I had to decide was whether the possibilities of success were 
sufficiently great to run what seemed to many to be the imminent risk 
of failure, which would sweep away all my earnings and which would 
brand me as a man of poor judgment following a will-of-the-wisp into 
a hopeless quagmire. My wife and I fought it through, made it a 
matter of earnest prayer, and finally decided that if satisfactory arrange- 
ments could be made to care for the church in Farmville, the Blackstone 
proposition would be accepted. 

The Farmville Board of Stewards were cold to the proposition. They 
could hardly believe that I had really decided that it was worthy of serious 


consideration, and it was not until the second meeting that they re- 
luctantly voted to release me for part of my time until Conference, with 
the understanding that I would secure a satisfactory assistant. The 
Reverend Richard H. Bennett, the brother of Mrs. Cannon, was secured 
to work as assistant pastor at Farmville until Conference. His person- 
ality and his preaching were both so satisfactory that the absence of the 
pastor most of the time did not call forth much criticism or complaint. 
I returned for the last two Sundays of the Conference year, made up 
the reports for Conference, packed my books and household goods, and 
with my wife and four children closed another delightful pastorate, 
and, as it turned out, wound up my experiences as a pastor of the 

IV. General Church. Activities 

Many of the writer s activities cannot be classified as pastoral, educational, 
editorial, social reform, or episcopal so that it has seemed proper to refer to 
these activities in this separate chapter. . . . 


From the time I accepted the call to preach in 1882, I studied the 
work of the Church not only in the Annual Conference in which I lived, 
not only throughout the bounds of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, but throughout the world. I read regularly the papers and maga- 
zines which gave information, and discussed questions concerning the 
Church. I fully realized that whatever worth-while contribution I was 
to make to the world in which I lived must be made chiefly through 
the Christian Church, and especially through the denomination to which 
I belonged. . . . Only a living, active, earnest, aggressive Church could 
accomplish its large purposes in the world. The reason for the Church, 
the activities of the Church, the failures and successes of the Church were 
questions of the greatest moment. 

I have attended every General Conference except one (1890) since I 
was licensed to preach. I have attended six General Conferences of the 
Methodist Church, three Ecumenical Methodist Conferences, the World 
Conference on Faith and Order at Lausanne, the World Conference 
on Life and Work at Stockholm, and the meetings of the Continuation 
Committees of these last-named bodies every year since 1920, going to 
Europe every summer for that purpose. I attended the initial gathering 
projecting the Federal Council of Churches in Carnegie Hall in 1904, 
and I have attended every meeting of the Federal Council since that 
time. I have learned at first hand the men and the work, not only of 
my own Church, but of national and world organizations. 

Since I had read and posted myself, it was only natural that when, in 
any body of which I was a member, it became evident that the facts 
concerning any matter with which I was acquainted were not known 
to the body, or when the views or convictions which I personally held 
were unmentioned or ignored, I should feel it to be my duty as a member 
of the body to give the facts or to utter my convictions. Thus it came 



to pass, at rather an early age, I began to speak, first in the District, and 
then in the Annual Conferences. 

Having been called to the work at Blackstone in the sixth year of my 
itinerant ministry, I found it necessary to speak on education, on Black- 
stone in particular, at all the District Conferences and at the Annual 
Conference. My college and seminary training had taught me to think 
upon my feet. I never rose to speak simply from the desire to inject 
myself into a discussion for publicity purposes, but only when I believed 
that I had some real contribution to make to the discussion. Others 
might think that I had nothing worth while to say, but I always knew 
what I wanted to say, and thought that it ought to be said. So I was 
found supporting or opposing motions made by others, or making 
motions and introducing resolutions on my own account. By the time I 
had been in the Annual Conference ten years, the objection to my 
activity in Conference proceedings on account of my youth had worn 
away, except among some of the older brethren who wanted to adhere 
strictly to the traditions of the elders. 

In 1897 ... I was active in support of the memorial to the General 
Conference limiting the term of a presiding elder to four years suc- 
cessively. This memorial was strongly opposed by the friends of the 
[presiding] elders of the Virginia Conference, who had been in the 
eldership from twenty to thirty years without a break. I not only fought 
for the memorial on the Conference floor, but emphasized the impor- 
tance of the legislation in the columns of the [Southern Methodist] Re- 
corder. The memorial was defeated in the General Conference, but the 
Virginia Conference passed the memorial a number of times, and the 
principle was finally incorporated into the law of the Church by the 
General Conference of 1934. I think, however, that the 1934 legislation 
is more drastic than it should be in its prohibition of return to the 
eldership until after four years. 

At that same Conference I advocated a memorial to give to all 
preachers in charge the right to baptize and to administer the Sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper, holding that the commission to preach should 
include the minor duties of the preacher in charge. 

Some years later on, I advocated a memorial for the removal of the 
four-year time limit of the pastorate, and although the legislation was 
defeated in the General Conference several times, it was finally approved, 
and the churches had the benefit of many successful long-term pastorates. 

To the surprise of my friends who knew I did not use tobacco in 
any form, I strongly opposed the legislation requiring applicants for ad- 
mission on trial to abstain from the use of tobacco. I held that the 



legislation should go no further than strongly to advise against the use 
of tobacco in any form. I do not believe that such a requirement should 
be made a decisive factor in determining a man's call to preach and his 
certification by the church. 

In all legislation on church policy I have favored progressive legisla- 

It was at the General Conference at Dallas in 1902 that I first came 
prominently before the Church at large. When the general facts con- 
cerning the war claim of the Methodist Publishing House had been 
published in the secular press, I made a thorough investigation of every 
phase of the question, studying the report of the Senate investigation, 
consulting with leading senators and others, in an endeavor to get to the 
bottom of a distressing affair. Having gotten what I believed to be the 
true facts, I set them forth fully and plainly, without palliation or 
excuse of any kind, in the columns of the Recorder [in 1898]. I empha- 
sized the humiliation which had been brought upon the Church, not 
only by Mr. [E. B.] Stahlman as attorney, but also by the book agents 
and later by the book committee. 1 

For three years the battle raged. At the session of the Virginia Con- 
ference at Newport News in 1901, Dr. E. E. Hoss, editor of the Nash- 
ville Advocate, was present and made an address in which he made a 
reference to publications in the Recorder which he declared had treated 
him unfairly. 2 To this statement I replied, stating exactly what I had 
said and denying that there was anything unfair or improper in any 
way. The Reverend Henry C. Cheatham, one of the oldest members of 
the Conference, arose and protested against the statements made by Dr. 
Hoss as improper from a guest of the Annual Conference. Dr. Hoss 

1 . Following the Civil War officials of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at- 
tempted to secure from Congress the payment of $288,000 in damages caused by North- 
ern troops to the Church's Publishing House property at Nashville. Congress admitted the 
damage but denied a legal obligation to pay on the grounds that the property destroyed was 
enemy property. However, in 1898 a bill authorizing payment of the damages was 
passed, in large part because of the sympathy of various congressmen for the church. 
The money was to be set up as a special fund. It was then discovered that the book agents 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, had made an agreement to pay a lawyer and 
lobbyist, one E. B. Stahlman, 35 per cent of the claim if it were collected, a fact which 
had been more or less successfully hidden from Congress. The gist of the recommendation 
of Cannon's minority report was that the entire $288,000 be returned to the U. S. Govern- 
ment (Minority Report of Committee on Public Interests on War Claims, presented to the 
General Conference on May 17, 1902, Cannon MSS). 

2. Elizah Embree Hoss (1849-1919) was president of Martha Washington College, 
1876-1881, and president of Emory and Henry College, 1881-1885. He then became 
Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Vanderbilt University and served as editor of the 
Nashville Christian Advocate from 1890 to 1902. He was elected bishop of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, South, in May, 1902. 



took his seat, and although requested to continue his address, declined 
to do so. The next day I was elected a delegate to the General Con- 
ference, ranking above all the men against whose methods I had written 
so severely in the Recorder in 1898. This election was the first time 
that the Conference had an opportunity really to express itself concerning 
the methods employed in the General Conference elections of 1897, 
which I had attacked so sharply in the Recorder in 1898. 

When the General Conference met, I was appointed by the Virginia 
delegation to represent it on the committee on publishing interest which 
had before it the question of the war claim. Many hours and days of 
the General Conference session were given to a thorough examination, 
not only of the written documents, but of persons involved in the trans- 
actions. On that committee I wielded the laboring oar against the 
methods employed by Mr. Stahlman, the book agents, and the book 
committee. When the investigation was concluded, the committee was 
divided in its judgment. A small majority favored a report which was 
not as sweeping in its condemnation of the transaction or in the final 
action proposed to be taken as the minority, of which I was one, thought 
it should be. I was therefore selected by the minority to draw up a 
report expressive of its views. 

The report which I prepared included a thorough review of all the 
facts, analyzing the circumstances surrounding the transaction, apportion- 
ing blame upon all the participants, and calling for the adoption of 
resolutions which would clear forever the good name of the Church 
from even the most virulent critic. When the two reports — the majority 
and the minority — were brought before the General Conference, there 
was intense interest. It was recognized that it was a historic hour in the 
life of the Church. Not only was the question to be settled of interest 
to the entire Methodist Episcopal Church, South, but every church body 
in the nation was deeply concerned. The secular press throughout the 
country had been turning a spotlight on the war-claim issue from the 
beginning of the General Conference session. Every seat in the audi- 
torium was taken, and a great number besides were standing up. 

The majority report was first read, a brief document requiring only a 
few minutes. The minority report required a full hour for the reading. 
I read it without haste, clearly, and distinctly, so that it was heard by 
everyone present. Not a sound was heard during the entire reading. 
One of the bishops, who sat on the platform with the Conference in full 
view, stated in facetious words at the close of the session, "The opponents 
of the report swallowed and swallowed, and spit cotton." 

At the close of the reading the usual motion was made to sub- 



stitute the minority for the majority report, and to print them both 
in the Daily Christian Advocate. At this juncture Dr. E. E. Hoss arose 
and declared that he had been advised by a competent lawyer that the 
report was libelous under the laws of the state of Texas, and that he 
would resign as editor of the Daily Advocate for that day. Judge Samuel 
B. Adams, a very prominent attorney from Savannah, Georgia, arose 
and asked that he be given the privilege of acting as editor. It was then 
announced that the firm which had the contract for the printing of the 
Daily Advocate had stated that it declined to set up and print the 
minority report. It could not run the risk of a suit for libel. 

Immediately after the adjournment of the session one of the most 
prominent lawyers in Texas, who had heard the entire report, came to 
me and stated that there was nothing whatever libelous in the report, 
and that he would find a printer who would agree to print it promptly. 
A printer was found who also had been present when the report was 
read, and I made a contract with him at once to print two thousand 
copies of the minority report. This contract was kept secret. It was an- 
nounced around the hotel lobbies and at the auditorium that night that 
all the printers in Dallas had refused to print the report. But the next 
morning, greatly to the astonishment of all but a few who were in the 
secret, the minority report was in the seat of every delegate, and an 
ample supply was on hand for visitors. 

The reading of the minority report was a death blow to the ma- 
jority report, but there was not a majority in favor of the adoption of 
the [minority] report. So a group of delegates who said that they 
stood on a middle ground met and prepared resolutions, presented them 
to the General Conference, and they were, in substance, finally adopted. 

While pleased that the minority report had prevented the adoption 
of the majority report, I was not satisfied with the report that was 
adopted. I did not think that it protected sufficiently the honor of the 
Church, and frankly declared my dissatisfaction both at the General 
Conference and in the Recorder? I have always regarded the minority 
report as probably the best analytical work I have ever done. While 
regretting that it did not receive a majority vote of the General Con- 

3. Cannon's information here seems to be factually correct. It should be noted that 
it differs in detail from the account in Virginius Dabney, Dry Messiah (New York: Knopf, 
1949), p. 31. See the Daily Christian Advocate, May 21 and 22, 1902. The so-called 
compromise resolutions acquitted "the Church of all blame in the matter," censured the 
action of its agents, provided that no further attempts be made to restore the money to 
the government, but that the Church itself raise the amount "necessary to restore the fund 
to what it was originally intended to be" (Baltimore and Richmond Christian Advocate, 
May 29, 1902). 


ference, I was greatly gratified that a large majority of the outstanding 
leaders in the Conference voted for the report on a recorded Aye and 
Nay vote. . . . 

On January 1, 1904, when the Baltimore and Richmond Christian 
Advocate and the Southern Methodist Recorder were consolidated, I was 
appointed to be the editor. I discussed editorially the general activities of 
the Church more than I had done heretofore. I realized that my respon- 
sibility had broadened, and that what I had to say would of necessity 
carry farther than it did in the Recorder. 

In 1905 the Virginia Conference elected me as second man in the 
delegation to the General Conference, the first place going by two votes 
to Dr. J. T. Whitehead, who, it was recognized, would not likely be 
able to attend another General Conference after that of 1906. At that 
General Conference I sat side by side with Dr. Whitehead most of the 
time, and we got closer together in thought and feeling than since the 
early years. ... At that General Conference I helped for the first time 
to prepare the report on temperance; and ever afterward, up to 1934, I 
either helped to write the report presented to the General Conference, 
or, as chairman of the Board of Temperance and Social Service, I 
wrote the report of that board. 

In the General Conference of 1906 Dr. W. F. Tillett 4 made a motion 
for the establishment of a commission to be appointed by the College of 
Bishops to consider the question of drawing up a new statement of faith 
for the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, requesting the co-operation 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church in such work. While I was entirely 
loyal to the twenty-five articles of religion as contained in the Methodist 
Discipline, yet I believed that the twenty-five articles were silent on 
some very important questions. I declared that the new statement should 
stress the love of God, the work of the Holy Spirit, the privilege of 
Christian perfection, the great command of the Master to preach the* 
Gospel to every creature, and other important doctrines. 

I was greatly amazed when the bishops appointed, as the commission, 
Bishop A. W. Wilson, Dr. Collins Denny, Dr. R. H. Mahon, Dr. W. F. 
Tillett, and Dr. O. E. Brown; and I did not hesitate to write editorially 
very plainly and positively in the Advocate. I emphasized the fact that 
the first three members of the commission had declared their opposition 
to the restatement proposal on the floor of the General Conference, 

4. Wilbur Fisk Tillett (i 854-1936), a native of North Carolina, was dean of the 
theology faculty and vice-chancellor of Vanderbilt University from 1886 to 1919. He 
was the author of "Al Smith and Fair Play" which was "A Plea for Religious Tolerance." 


Bishop Wilson himself having, upon request of the General Conference, 
stated his opposition. Discussing the action of the bishops, I said: 

If such a thing has ever been done before in any body of any importance, 
this editor has never heard of it. No special criticism would be made of the 
appointment of Bishop Wilson as chairman of the Commission, for as 
Senior Bishop of the Church, it might be recognized as proper that he 
should preside over the Commission. Candor compels the statement that 
the bishops made a mistake in constituting the Commission where the ma- 
jority would be hostile to the work they are appointed to perform. 

I further insisted that it was not fair to men who spoke in opposition 
to the action taken to charge them with the duty of bringing to a suc- 
cessful issue a movement which they desired to see fail. On the other 
hand, it was not fair to the majority of the General Conference to ap- 
point men to carry out their views who did not agree with their views. 
I insisted that two of the members of the commission who were opposed 
to the action of the General Conference promptly resign and allow men 
to be appointed who could conscientiously and enthusiastically support 
the action of the General Conference. When the opponents of the new 
statement declared that the movement was the work of professors, I 
editorially analyzed the vote of the General Conference, and proved 
that a majority of the presiding elders and also the pastors present at 
the General Conference voted for the action, as did a majority of the 
editors and of the connectional officers. While there was no possible 
answer to my charge of the improper composition of the commission, 
none of the members resigned; and with such a commission it is not 
surprising that nothing was done. 

Concerning my work at the General Conference at Birmingham, 
Bishop Collins Denny testified in a deposition given in 1913 in the 
Randolph-Macon case, that Dr. W. W. Smith, himself an outstanding 
leader in the General Conference, told him in Nashville that "Cannon 
was considered to be the ablest man in the General Conference of 1906." 
. . . However correct such an opinion may have been, it is doubdess true 
that my work at that General Conference attracted the attention of the 
Church, as indicative of versatility and accuracy of thought and ex- 

In the spring of 1907 I attended with Dr. [W. W.] Smith a meeting 
of the General Board of Education at St. Louis. . . . 5 

From St. Louis Dr. Smith and I went to Hot Springs, Arkansas, for 
a few days, and from there to Mexico City via Laredo and Monterrey. 

5. W. W. Smith had been elected to the General Board of Education in 1906. Can- 
non apparently took his place in 19 10, and remained on the board until 1930. 


... On this trip Dr. Smith urged me to agree to accept the presidency 
of Randolph-Macon Woman's College, stating that he desired, if I 
would accept the place, to resign and devote himself to work as an 
educational advisor. I expressed my appreciation of Dr. Smith's great 
confidence in me, but said that I preferred to continue at the school 
whose foundation I had laid, and which I had built up. I asked Dr. 
Smith from what source he would receive his salary should he resign 
the presidency of the Woman's College. Dr. Smith replied that that 
was a matter that could be easily arranged. I little dreamed that the 
matter had been arranged the previous summer by the action of the 
Randolph-Macon Board of Trustees in adopting a resolution qualifying 
the Randolph-Macon schools to participate in the benefits of the Car- 
negie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The year before, 
Dr. Smith had discussed the Carnegie question with me in a general 
way, and I had expressed myself very positively that it would be im- 
possible for Randolph-Macon ever to participate in the Carnegie teachers' 
pensions. The matter was not discussed at any great length, but I was 
so positive in my position that Dr. Smith realized that he would not be 
able to convince me. 

It was therefore like a thunderclap out of a clear sky when I first 
heard in the fall of 1907 that the Randolph-Macon Board of Trustees 
had taken action to qualify for participation in the Carnegie Pension 
Fund. . . . When I first learned what the Randolph-Macon board had 
done, I was at the Woman's College. I immediately took the matter 
up with Dr. Smith, and we discussed it back and forth for several hours. 
The next day I told Dr. Smith that, unless he could give assurance that 
the Board of Trustees would rescind the action, I would be obliged to 
bring the matter before the Virginia Conference at its annual session a 
few weeks later. Against this Dr. Smith most vigorously protested, 
insisting that it was a matter for the trustees alone to decide, and not in 
any sense a responsibility of the Conference. . . . 

Before the meeting of the Virginia Conference [in 1907], I had a 
long talk with Bishop Charles B. Galloway, 6 who was to preside, and 
outlined to him the course which I proposed to follow. I was so per- 
turbed that I discussed the matter only briefly with some of my closest 
friends. Following my invariable custom of trying to get all possible 
information, I wrote to Dr. Henry S. Pritchett, secretary of the Carnegie 
Foundation, laying before him the general facts as to the Randolph- 

6. Charles Betts Galloway (see p. 5m. 18) was for many yeras president of the Pro- 
hibition Executive Committee in Mississippi. 


Macon system and the reports which had been adopted by the Virginia 
and Baltimore Conferences since the resolution of 1906. 7 I % asked Dr. 
Pritchett [for] an interpretation of the meaning and scope of the action 
of the Randolph-Macon trustees. Fortunately, Dr. Pritchett had finished 
preparation of his annual report, and had unbound copies of it in his 
office. He sent a copy of his report to me, which reached Petersburg, 
the seat of the Virginia Conference session, the day after I introduced my 
resolutions and made my opening speech. 

That opening speech was between four and five hours long, con- 
suming a large part of the morning session and of the afternoon session. 
It took the Conference completely by surprise. Of course, the Board 
of Trustees knew what action had been taken more than a year before, 
but no publication had been made of the action, and the Conference was 
in ignorance. In view of the close friendship existing between Dr. Smith 
and myself, it was recognized at once that the matter must be of grave 
importance or I would never have brought it before the Conference. 

At the conclusion of my speech, Dr. Smith made partial reply, in- 
cluding some statements which were puzzling to me, as I had received 
no facts from Dr. Pritchett. The next day being Sunday, Dr. Smith 
returned to Lynchburg, where he found a copy of Dr. Pritchett's report. 
I had also received a copy of the report by special-delivery mail and had 
read and digested it very thoroughly. In my second speech I read Dr. 
Pritchett's report in full, over the protest of Dr. Smith, who insisted that 
it was a confidential document. But the Conference insisted upon the 
reading in full. 

This was the beginning of a discussion which continued until after 
the death of Dr. W. W. Smith in November, 1913, and which was 
finally terminated by the dismissal of the injunction of the Circuit Court 
of Hanover County, which injunction had been secured by some of 
the Randolph-Macon trustees who had protested against the action taken 
by the board in 1912. 

From the very beginning in 1907, the Virginia Conference, as a body, 
rang clear and true on the principal issue involved in the entire dis- 
cussion, which, as I put it time and again, was a question of sincerity. 
I insisted that if the Carnegie resolution, as adopted by the board in 
1906, was a correct statement as it was interpreted by the Carnegie 
Board, then all the past history of Randolph-Macon, the multitudinous 

7. The "resolution of 1906" apparently refers to the action by the Randolph-Macon 
Board of Trustees in "adopting a resolution qualifying the Randolph-Macon schools to 
participate in the benefits of the Carnegie Foundation ... by asserting that there were 
no denominational tests for selecting trustees" {Minutes of Virginia Conference, M. E. 
Church, South, 1904-1908, p. 68). 


speeches of its representatives, trustees, presidents, professors, the declara- 
tions of Church ownership and control, insistence upon support of the 
college as the Conference child— all these were in contradiction of the 
meaning of the Carnegie resolution. 8 I declared that the trustees and 
the chancellor had, whether intentionally or otherwise, betrayed the 
trust which they held for the Baltimore and Virginia Conferences. 

Dr. Smith endeavored to justify his position and disclaimed positively 
that he had done anything subversive of the rights of the Conferences, 
and that all the speeches that he had ever made were entirely consistent 
with the Carnegie resolution. However, Dr. Pritchett, the secretary of 
the Carnegie Foundation, stated that such statements as had been made 
in the past concerning church ownership could no longer be made as 
consistent with the Carnegie resolution; and furthermore, he stated that 
the trustees could no longer be selected as was the rule, one-third from 
the Baltimore, two-thirds from the Virginia Conference. 

The discussion was by far the most distressing experience which I 
had in my connection with the Virginia Conference. Some of my closest 
friends, preachers and laymen, with whom I had worked without a 
breach on other important matters and who had supported the positions 
I had taken, were alienated from me, some permanently. It was to be 
expected that a great leader like Dr. Smith, with his splendid record of 
service, should be strongly supported by many preachers and laymen 
who, without full investigation, were satisfied that he must be right. 
But wherever the case was fully argued, and all the facts set forth, the 
majority invariably supported my position and condemned the trustees. 

Efforts were made by various parties to divert the Conference and 
the public from the main issue and to tie up the Randolph-Macon mat- 
ter in some way with the management of Blackstone Institute and 
my personal affairs. But these efforts proved to be futile and, in the 
end, did not hurt me but helped me. The Blackstone Board of Trustees 
and the Farmville District Conference were stirred to action and strongly 
endorsed me, denying flatly the statements made by those who were 
attempting to draw a "red herring" across the track. These attacks, 
however, were so intensely personal, and so calculated, if believed, to 
destroy my reputation and influence, that I was finally obliged to write 
almost a full-page article in the Richmond News Leader, taking up in 
my usual fashion, seriatim, the statements which had been made in the 
press by my opponents, and giving answers which were apparently 
satisfactory, for no evident harm was done either to Blackstone In- 
stitute or to me personally. 



Many pages could be filled with an account of the discussions which 
took place on the Conference floor and in the newspapers concerning 
the Carnegie resolutions. The Virginia Conference stood firmly by its 
position that the Randolph-Macon Board of Trustees must, first of all, 
rescind the Carnegie resolution, and, secondly, must agree to some 
method of the selection and confirmation of trustees such as would give 
the two Conferences a real voice in that matter. The trustees finally 
agreed to rescind the resolution and to give the Conference power of 
confirmation of trustees. 

This action of the board, when put into effect, was strenuously re- 
sisted by a group of the trustees who secured an injunction to prevent 
the board from carrying out the proposed action as to confirmation of 
trustees. Many depositions were taken, some of them quite volumi- 
nous. ... ' 

In view of the circumstances, the background, and history of the case, 
Judge R. H. L. Chichester, presiding in the Circuit Court at Hanover, 
permitted Bishop Collins Denny and me to appear and present argu- 
ments in the case. At the conclusion of the hearing the injunction was 
dissolved, and a settlement which was agreed upon by the Conference 
and the trustees has remained in force until the present time. 9 

While this discussion was going on, the Virginia Conference elected 
me as chairman of the delegation from Virginia to the General Confer- 
ence of 1910 held in Asheville, North Carolina. I was elected secretary of 
the Committee on Education, of which Judge E. C. O'Rear of Kentucky 
was chairman. This committee considered the report which had been 
made by the commission appointed to determine the relation of Van- 
derbilt University to the Church. On that question I found myself 
lined up with Bishop E. E. Hoss on the main issue of Church owner- 
ship and control of Vanderbilt University. I did not agree in some of 
the details with Bishop Hoss, but I did on the right of the General 
Conference to speak authoritatively as the controlling body of Vanderbilt 

9. On Oct. 5, 191 1, the Board of Trustees voted to rescind both the resolution of 
1906 and a later resolution of June, 1909, which had given the Conferences the right to 
approve the election of trustees. It then resolved that when vacancies should occur on 
the board, one name for each vacancy would be submitted to the Conference having the 
vacancy. When the Conference approved the name, the Board of Trustees would elect 
him. Cannon's committee unanimously recommended that the Conference accept this as 
a final settlement {The Virginia Conference Annual . . . 129th Session, 1911, pp. 64-68). 
The dismissal of the injunction was considered by Cannon to have removed all obstacles to 
prior agreement {ibid, 131st Session, 19 13, p. 70). 


Having been in the thick of the fight on the same question con- 
cerning Randolph-Macon, I recognized very clearly that the position of 
Chancellor Kirkland and even of Bishop Hendrix was the thin edge 
of the wedge which, if driven in, meant the separation of Vanderbilt 
University from the control of the Church. I therefore heartily favored 
the action of the General Conference in electing trustees to fill vacancies 
for confirmation by the Vanderbilt Board of Trust. By this method it 
would be quickly shown whether the Vanderbilt Board of Trust 
agreed that it was the property of the Church in fact, and under the 
control of the General Conference. The General Conference of 191 
adopted the report of the Committee on Education by a large majority, 
but from my experience in the Randolph-Macon matter, I was satisfied 
that there would be trouble about Vanderbilt during the next quad- 

There were some unpleasant features in connection with the Ashe- 
ville General Conference. The sharp differences of opinion in both the 
Baltimore and the Virginia Conferences over the Randolph-Macon 
question were reflected at Asheville in many unpleasant words and caustic 
criticism. The support of my position by the Virginia Conference, and 
my election at the head of the delegation were referred to as a proof 
that the Virginia Conference "had a Matt Quay dictatorship," the im- 
plication being that the majority for me had been secured by some 
sinister methods. These hostile criticisms, circulated persistently among 
the delegates, were not helpful to me. They produced a feeling that the 
great Virginia Conference was seriously divided. The breach with Dr. 
Smith, while understood by those who had thoroughly investigated the 
subject, was emphasized and deplored. 

I enjoyed the General Conference of 191 less than any General 
Conference I ever attended, and returned home tired and weary and 
anxious for a good rest. I was still deeply distressed by the death of 
my father [in that year] and was deeply affected at the approaching 
separation from Blackstone. 10 I decided finally to take a trip to Europe, 
carrying with me my wife and my four oldest children, ranging in age 
from fifteen to twenty-one. The trip was probably the most delightful 
one I ever took of all my numerous trips to Europe. My brother-in-law, 
the Reverend R. H. Bennett, had kindly consented to become responsible 
for the editorship of the Advocate, and I was satisfied that the paper 
would be more attractive than usual under his care. With practically no 
pressing responsibility for the first time in sixteen years, I outlined a 
trip to Europe which would give my children a glimpse of the high 

10. See introduction for details on Blackstone. 


spots, and my wife and myself a revivification of sights already seen. 
The sailing was first cabin on the steamer Caledonia, direct to Glasgow, 
with choice staterooms at only ninety dollars per person. That was 
nearly twice as much as paid for second cabins ten years before, but 
the accommodations were much better, and they were equally as good 
and about one-half what they are today. 

A stop of ten days was made in Edinburgh to attend the World 
Missionary Conference, to which my wife and I had been appointed 
delegates. . . . 

The Missionary Conference made a great impression upon all of us. 
It was probably the greatest Christian gathering which had been held up 
to that time. The Anglicans, with their archbishops, bishops, deans, 
canons, Scotch university professors and dominies in black silk robes, 
the noncomformist leaders of Great Britain and Ireland, the delegates 
from the great Protestant churches of America, and the outstanding 
leaders from the mission fields of the world — the assembly as a whole — 
thrilled me and filled me with a great longing for a world-wide church, 
unified in its motives, purposes, and general plan, if not in every detail 
of organization. And since Edinburgh I have been actively connected 
with every unified Christian movement of an ecumenical character. 

From Edinburgh our route was through the south of Scotland and 
the north of England, touching shrines and cathedrals, stopping at 
Epworth, in Lincolnshire, for a day and a night. . . . From there the 
trip to London, Oxford, Cambridge, the Shakespeare country, Holland, 
Belgium, the Rhine, Switzerland, and Italy left the children somewhat 
dazed, although intensely alert and probably getting more impressions 
than their parents. They were all half indignant, half amused, at a 
supercilious comment in an English paper that "The Yankee Crackers" 
were on "their annual scamper through Europe." 

At Naples the advertisement of the sailing of a fast ship to Port 
Said decided the parents to make an unexpected trip to Palestine and 
Egypt. We did not know when we could ever again, certainly not at 
so small an expense, give our children firsthand knowledge of the Holy 
Land. The ship on which we took sail was of the German East-African 
Line, which operated the finest, fastest boats from Europe to Port Said, 
as they were built especially to encourage German emigration to German 
East Africa, now known as the Tanganyika Territory. 

The staterooms were very good, but the fare was very heavy, coarse 
German food, which none of us enjoyed. Fortunately the weather was 
delightful, and the Mediterranean at its very best and bluest. But the 
German passengers were most disagreeable. They were not only loud 



and boisterous, but very coarse, swaggering, and disgusting in their at- 
titude of German superiority. They went around with the air of a 
man with a chip on his shoulder, and "Deutschland iiber Alles" was not 
only their favorite song but was their real thought. They thought they 
had a right to rule the world, and whenever the Kaiser said the word, 
they would make the rest of the countries fully understand it. Their 
conduct became so disgusting that we stayed largely in our staterooms, 
going out for only short periods to see how really asinine the Germans 
could be. 

When the ship reached Port Said, a French steamer was fortunately 
in port, leaving in three or four hours for Jaffa, then the port of Jeru- 
salem. It was before the days of railroads from Egypt to Palestine. The 
German captain sent us by small boat over to the French steamer. Upon 
our arrival we found that the ship was packed to its utmost capacity 
in every berth. But we could not afford to wait three or four days for 
another steamer, so, in spite of much French gesticulation, shrugging 
of shoulders, and protestations of "Impossible! Impossible!" I bought 
deck space and rented some blankets to use in sleeping on the deck at 
night. With great difficulty the French sailors cleared a place large 
enough for us among the Arabs, Egyptians, Syrians, and Jews, who had 
already bought deck space and strenuously objected to being moved. 
It was necessary to use considerable "baksheesh" to secure peace, and 
even then there was swearing and bad language used through the night. 
As our party had all our money and other traveling possessions with us, 
it was agreed that the night would be divided into watches, each one 
taking a turn. At first the children were quite delighted at the idea, 
but after midnight it was not such a joke. Eyelids became heavy, and 
once I waked suddenly to find that our watchman was asleep, and one 
of the sly neighbors was trying to investigate the suitcases. 

It seems almost unbelievable that the traveling public should have 
endured for so many years the landing at Jaffa. It is both ludicrous 
and dangerous. The ship cannot go within several hundred feet of 
land, and the landing is made in small boats. The sea is always rough 
and choppy, and when it is stormy landing is impossible. The small 
boats came up to the side of the steamer as close as possible without being 
dashed by the waves against the side of the ship. Three or four strong, 
well-built men handled each boat, two at the oars (enough to keep it in 
place), and one standing on one of the seats with arms extended to 
catch the passengers, who were dropped from the side of the ship. 

The drop from the French boat was all of twenty feet, and at first 
we all said that we could not risk it; but as we saw more than a score of 


other passengers dropped from the ship and caught expertly by the 
boatman and placed safely on the benches, we finally decided to take 
the chance. 

To reassure the children, the mother went first. With skirts flying 
in the breeze, she landed plump in the arms of a stalwart Arab, who 
caught her as though she were a bag of wheat, and put her down safely. 
The four children followed, some squealing, all reluctantly. When the 
time came for me to be thrown from the ship's side, the rest of the 
family rose up in the boat with mixed anxiety and merriment, to see me, 
with utter loss of dignity and with no semblance of control of my body, 
being hurled through the air like an article of merchandise. As has been 
said, it was not only ridiculous but dangerous, for sudden, unexpected 
lurches of the boat sometimes landed the catcher and his burden in the 
sea, which, of course, was better than to have one's skull cracked on 
the hard bench of the boat. I went to Palestine several times afterwards, 
but I never again set sail in any ship that would compel me to land at 

From Jaffa we went by easy stages to Jerusalem. . . . Arrangements 
were made at a very moderate cost to travel in a large buckboard carry- 
ing ample supplies for a fairly comprehensive trip over lower Pales- 
tine. ... j 

The first night out of Jerusalem was spent at a town near the 
Mediterranean called Zamorin. The innkeeper was a Jew who had lived 
for several years in New York and was eager to do his best. It was 
Friday night, and, for the first time, we all attended a Jewish service 
in the village synagogue, where everything was carried on in accordance 
with the Jewish ritual. The rabbis and all the congregation greeted us 
very graciously, and that service alone was worth the entire Palestine 

The next night was spent at Haifa in a German hotel down by the 
sea, right at the foot of Carmel. The moon was at the full. The beach at 
Haifa is one of the best in the world, and the bath[i7<r] under the full 
moon in the Mediterranean at Haifa was unforgettable. From Haifa we 
went to the Sea of Galilee, and there, at the head of the Jordan Valley, we 
had our first taste of the terrific heat of midsummer in a place below sea 
level. Because of some racial clashes it was thought unwise to go to 
Nazareth and Capernaum. 

We reached Samaria about nightfall. That city also had been in quite 
an uproar, and catcalls and mud followed the buckboard wagon as it 
drove rapidly to the large German hotel. It was significant that prac- 
tically all of the substantial hotels in Palestine were owned by Germans. 


It was said that they had been built by the help of the German govern- 
ment, and it was the common talk of the people that the Kaiser expected 
the Turks to give him control of the country. At any rate, these Ger- 
man hotels were considered to be the best and safest places. . . . The 
German proprietor disclosed that he had four small cannon on top of the 
hotel to use in case of attack. 

One of the most interesting things in Palestine was the small group 
of Samaritans who traced their descent directly from the Samaritans 
of the time of Christ. They still show the ancient roll of their Pentateuch 
for a moderate "baksheesh." They do not intermarry with outsiders 
and the community is dwindling steadily away. 

There is no doubt as to the identity of Jacob's well. There Jacob and 
his sons watered their flocks, and there the Master told the woman of 
Samaria all that ever she did, and announced the great principle of all 
true worship : "God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship 
Him in spirit and in truth." Like many other famous places, Jacob's 
well has become sadly commercialized, and it is impossible to enjoy 
there any time of quiet reflection and meditation. . . . 

We thought that the most impressive place in Jerusalem was the 
Mosque of Omar, built on what is called the dome of the rock, as 
probably the site of Solomon's Temple and its successors as is any other 
place in Jerusalem. At the time we were there it was difficult to secure 
access to the mosque because some tourists, a few weeks before, had 
violated the regulations made by the Moslems for the conduct of 
Christians coming into the mosque. There had been shooting, with one 
or two fatalities, and the fanatical Moslems were bitterly opposed to 
allowing any more Christians to enter the sacred precincts. The authori- 
ties had only recently raised the ban, but all tourists were warned on 
entering the mosque to be very quiet so as not to excite any of the fanati- 
cal worshipers. Two Bedouin Arabs waved their arms and started in our 
direction, but were kept away by the Moslem guards. . . . 

Feeling amply repaid for the time and money expended on Palestine 
and Egypt, the family embarked again at Port Said on another German 
East-African steamer on its way back to Germany. There was no im- 
provement, either in the food or in the manners of the German pas- 
sengers. But the speed of the boat compensated somewhat for the other 
disadvantages. Time was given for all the real high spots in Paris, 
especially Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Tomb of Napoleon, the Champs 
Elysees, and the Arc de Triomphe. The trip on the steamer Baltic from 
Liverpool home gave an opportunity for rest and meditation. I came 
back with renewed vigor and spirit for my work, having enjoyed longer, 



[more] uninterrupted, satisfying association with my family than I have 
had at any time since. 

For some months after my return from Europe I was intensely in- 
terested and busily involved in the work of the Anti-Saloon League 
and in the establishment of a daily newspaper, the Richmond Virginian, 
in the city of Richmond. These matters will be given more extended 
consideration in a later chapter. But during this same time I was ap- 
proached by the commissioners of the Southern Assembly with a request 
that I investigate that matter and, if satisfied, become the General 
Superintendent of the Assembly. As I gave much money, energy, and 
time to the work of the Southern Assembly during a period of nearly 
fifteen years, and as I gave the most of my time to it for over three 
years, something should be said concerning this organization. 

The Laymen's Missionary Movement had held a great conference 
at Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1908. At that conference a committee was 
appointed to locate a suitable place at which to establish a great summer 
assembly of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The committee 
finally selected a site on Richland Creek in Haywood County, North 
Carolina, about three miles from Waynesville. They had the promise 
of approximately $100,000 in good subscriptions from citizens of Waynes- 
ville, and they bought or took options on about one thousand acres of 
land. They secured a charter from the legislature of North Carolina 
which was supposed, at the time, to exempt all the property of the 
Assembly from taxation, and which conferred wide powers upon the 
commissioners as to the various activities which would be carried on. 

The first commissioners were: Bishop James Atkins, who had largely 
influenced the selection of the site near Waynesville, where he had his 
own home; Mr. John R. Pepper, at that time and for at least thirty years 
of his life the outstanding layman of Southern Methodism; Dr. George 
R. Stuart, the incomparable evangelist and lecturer; General Julian S. 
Carr, the prominent citizen of North Carolina; Messers. B. J. Sloan, S. C. 
Satterthwaite, Alden Howell, and Samuel C. Welsh, citizens of Waynes- 
ville. I was first approached by Dr. George R. Stuart. Later on, at the 
invitation of the commissioners, I went to Waynesville and gave care- 
ful consideration to the enterprise. 

I was heartily in favor of the general proposition. My visits to Chau- 
tauqua [New York], Ocean Grove [Maryland], and Winona Lake [In- 
diana] had greatly impressed upon me the value of such assemblies, and 
I greatly desired that Southern Methodism should establish an assembly 
second to none. I had been a prime mover in the effort to secure action 
by the Virginia Conference to establish such an assembly on the Virginia 



seashore, and had gone so far as to become responsible, along with Mr. 
J. W. Hough of Norfolk, for a large tract of land on Lynnhaven Inlet, 
which I turned over to the Conference for that purpose. There seeming 
to be no prospects for any immediate action in Virginia, I agreed the 
more readily to consider the proposition for an assembly more nearly in 
the center of the Church. 

I was greatly impressed with the physical beauty of the site selected; 
but I wanted to assure myself that the financial conditions were such as 
would make possible the carrying out of adequate plans. The building 
of a dam across Richland Creek to form a lake was an essential feature, 
and that would, of necessity, cost in the neighborhood of $100,000, which 
would be in addition to payments for land and for necessary public 
buildings. I went over with the commissioners the list of subscriptions 
already obtained, and received their positive assurance as to the reliability 
of the subscribers, and as to their financial ability and property holdings 
in case it should be necessary to bring suit to collect the subscriptions. 

Not until I had become satisfied that there were enough bona fide 
collectible subscriptions of approximately f 100,000 did I agree to accept 
the position of General Superintendent. It was also provided that, in 
the event I accepted, Mr. Pepper, as president of the Laymen's Mis- 
sionary Movement, Dr. Stuart, as a drawing card anywhere, and Bishop 
Atkins whenever possible, would visit with me the leading cities of 
Southern Methodism east of the Mississippi to hold luncheons and din- 
ners of picked laymen and preachers to explain the plan and secure 
additional subscriptions. 

Unfortunately, before the first year was over, I found that the 
Waynesville subscription list would not be worth more than sixty cents 
on the dollar, at the outside. Furthermore, the most active and in- 
fluential Waynesville commissioner, Mr. S. C. Welsh, died from pneu- 
monia during the first year of operations. He was a man of wide 
influence in Haywood County and had he lived, the attitude of the 
officials and of the country people generally toward the Assembly would 
have been very different. Mr. Welsh's executor fought the payment of 
his subscription. There were some failures in business of some of the 
largest subscribers. Others declined to pay without a suit. 

Had I known what would have been the net value of the Waynes- 
ville subscriptions, I would not have agreed to have anything to do with 
the Southern Assembly. But I believed that the meetings of the minis- 
ters and laymen held in the cities of the South would not only popu- 
larize the Assembly but would secure a large amount of gilt-edged sub- 
scriptions. The meetings were held in a number of cities, and in view 



of the standing of Mr. Pepper and Dr. Stuart the men invited to the 
luncheons and dinners usually attended, and subscriptions were made 
at the meetings running from five hundred to seventy-five hundred dol- 
lars. Had it not been for these subscriptions, the Assembly would have 
collapsed before the dam was finished. 

After the contract for the dam had been signed, Mr. Howell, one of 
the commissioners, became dissatisfied and wanted to withdraw. He 
had made some subscriptions for which he had taken stock in the 
Assembly. While I had made a good subscription when I accepted the 
superintendency, yet, preferring not to work with a dissatisfied official, 
at considerable sacrifice I bought all the stock of Mr. Howell. Later on, 
from time to time, I bought more stock until I had put more than 
$20,000 into the Assembly. 

Believing thoroughly, as I did, in the great benefits which would 
come to the Church from the Assembly, I went ahead; and, as I had 
done at Blackstone, I put time, energy, and practically all of my credit 
into developing the Assembly grounds. I contracted for the building 
of practically all of the roads which are at present on the grounds; I 
contracted for the building of the dam, for the auditorium, and for 
what was known as the Public Service Building. I moved my family 
to Waynesville, and for three years centered the greater part of my effort 
upon the development of the Assembly. This involved as responsible 
work, financially, as I had ever done. I had as a financial basis only sub- 
scription notes. The local banks at Waynesville could furnish only a 
limited amount of credit. I could find no sympathetic response from 
the banks at Asheville. 

I secured some temporary help from the Wachovia Bank and Trust 
Company of Winston-Salem, but finally I was obliged to put to a test 
my personal credit in the state of Virginia. I borrowed over $100,000, 
in amounts of five and ten thousand dollars, from the country banks of 
Virginia, which, knowing my record at Blackstone, with the Advocate, 
and in the founding of the Richmond Virginian, took the Southern 
Assembly notes with myself as endorser. By this method I was able to 
finish the dam and the bridge at a cost of about $110,000, the engineering 
and roads at something over $40,000, the auditorium at between $15,000 
and $20,000, and the Public Service Building at about $15,000. 

Financially, the great question was whether the absolutely necessary 
public utilities could be finished and the Assembly itself become a living, 
growing thing, and whether then the plans wrought out would so 
appeal to the Church that sufficient lots could be sold on the Assembly 
grounds to liquidate the indebtedness gradually. 


After the public utilities mentioned above had been constructed and 
the Assembly had been opened for its summer work, I was faced with 
the necessity of caring for the large amount of notes carried in the bank 
on my endorsement. I finally arranged with the Old Dominion Trust 
Company of Virginia to send a representative to Lake Junaluska to 
appraise the property values of the Assembly with a view to placing a 
bond issue of $150,000, which bond issue would be secured by a mortgage 
on all the property of the Southern Assembly. The representative of 
the Old Dominion Trust Company reported favorably, and the date of 
the issuance of the bonds was fixed, the $150,000 to be placed to the 
credit of the Assembly. On the fixed date the country banks, which had 
been carrying the Assembly notes with my endorsement, sent the notes, 
with accompanying sight drafts, to the Old Dominion Trust Company. 
The notes were paid, and my credit with the country banks of Virginia 
was fully maintained. 

The Southern Assembly was opened in the summer of 191 3 by the 
Junaluska Missionary Conference. By the most tremendous exertions, 
the dam had been finished but the water had not risen very far in the 
lake. The electric light system had been installed, but not until the 
very night of the opening was the system completed so as to test whether 
it would work. The twilight was fading, the crowds were assembling 
from the Waynesville hotels and boardinghouses, and just when it 
seemed that the conference was to open in darkness, the auditorium 
and grounds were flooded with light, and the Missionary Conference 
was a great success. The visitors from all over the Church were loud in 
their praise of the picturesque mountain scenery and of the fine location 
of the grounds. One writer entitled his editorial, "The Lake that Sur- 
prised the Mountain." 

My motto for the Assembly was "Rest, Recreation, Conference, In- 
spiration." My thought and hope were that the connectional boards of 
the Church would make the Assembly grounds their center of opera- 
tions for the summer, and I urged the Board of Missions, the Board of 
Education, the Sunday School Board, the Epworth League Board, the 
Board of Temperance and Social Service, and the Laymen's Missionary 
Movement, all to prepare summer programs for Junaluska, with free use 
of the auditorium and every assistance that the Assembly officials could 
give them to make their meetings a success. 

The mind of the Church gradually became accustomed to the thought 
that Junaluska was indeed the Assembly of Southern Methodism. Many 
lots were sold, cottages erected, and it looked as though the plans and 
hopes of the founders would be realized, but after these early years there 


was a decided cessation in the buying of lots and the building of cot- 
tages. There was a great financial slump during the first year of World 
War I; there was a great flood in Western Carolina in the second year, 
which occurred just at the time to cut off travel to the summer con- 
ferences. Then the country became absorbed in the war, and other in- 
terests were subordinated. 

After a few years, however, the attendance at the summer conferences 
became so great that there was no room to accommodate the visitors. 
Having put so much effort into the Assembly, I decided that if no one 
else would meet the need, I would try to do so. I therefore erected a 
large building with ninety bedrooms, capable of accommodating, in a 
pinch, two hundred people, and did not give it the pretentious name 
of a hotel, but called it "The Virginia Lodge," leasing it to be run at 
a cost of two dollars per day to guests. Following this, other boarding- 
houses, charging very moderate prices, were opened. In my work for the 
Southern Assembly all of my family heartily co-operated, although the 
grind was very heavy sometimes, especially when it became necessary 
for us to assume personal charge of the Virginia Lodge with its numer- 
ous boarders. 11 . . . 

At the Virginia Annual Conference of 1913 I was again elected as 
the head of the clerical delegation to the General Conference of 191 4. 
I greatly enjoyed the Conference session. Owing to the large number 
of bishops elected in 1910, there was no need to elect any bishops. I 
was approached with a proposition for election, as one of the connec- 
tional secretaries, for a position for which I felt especially qualified. 
But, as at all preceding General Conferences, I declined to be con- 
sidered for any connectional office. I had been asked, and had agreed, to 
return to Blackstone, and I did not believe that I could do as good work 
in any connectional office as I could in the various activities in which I 
was engaged. 

As always, I took part in the various matters before the General Con- 
ference, but my two principal speeches were concerning the superannua- 
tion of Bishop A. W. Wilson 12 and concerning what was known as 

1 1 . After Cannon was elected bishop, he felt compelled gradually to relinquish the 
responsibility of the Assembly. It was necessary to refinance the original bond issue, 
and this was done by the Mercantile Trust Company of St. Louis, apparently in 1922. 
Cannon received a cash salary for his superintendency for only one year; for two 
other years he took payment "at a very reduced salary in stock (which had no market 
value) which I converted into lots on the assembly grounds. These lots I was never 
able to sell." 

W. H. Stockham succeeded Cannon as superintendent in 1919 or 1920. 

12. Alpheus Watts Wilson (1834-1916) was elected bishop in May, 1882. 


the "Vanderbilt Question." The speech on the retirement of Bishop 
Wilson was an obligation laid upon me by the Committee on Epis- 
copacy, which I did not at all desire, but which I felt that I could not 

Bishop Wilson had reached the age of [eighty]. He had been unable 
to hold some of his Conferences, and had been assisted several times by 
younger bishops. The Committee on Episcopacy, by a very large ma- 
jority, voted that the chairman of the committee be requested to confer 
with Bishop Wilson and state to him that it was the opinion of the 
committee that he should request retirement. The chairman reported 
back to the committee that Bishop Wilson declined to accept this advice, 
and stated that he had not been elected by the Committee on Episcopacy, 
but by the General Conference, and that if he was to be retired it must 
be by a vote of that body. 

Very regretfully the Committee on Episcopacy then voted to recom- 
mend Bishop Wilson's retirement. The chairman stated that he could 
not represent the committee on that matter. The committee then selected 
me to represent it. I honestly believed that Bishop Wilson should retire, 
and that, if he was not willing to do so voluntarily, the General Con- 
ference should vote his retirement. Moreover, while I did not desire 
to be the spokesman of the committee, yet I did not feel that I could re- 
fuse to speak if the committee laid the obligation upon me. 

Several of the bishops were strongly opposed to Bishop Wilson's re- 
tirement, stating that he should be retained in active service, that he 
should be permitted to die in harness. This argument had no weight 
with me, for I believed that the same rules should apply to a bishop 
as to any traveling preacher. While I did not believe in any age limit 
determined by the almanac, yet I did believe in an age limit determined 
by the wearing out of physical and mental powers, and I believed that 
the latter kind of age limit applied to Bishop Wilson's case. An effort 
was made to have the matter decided by a rising vote. I opposed this, 
stating that Bishop Wilson had sent word to the committee that the 
General Conference had elected him and a General Conference should 
retire him. The General Conference had elected him by ballot and not 
by a rising vote; and in accordance with his own statement, the vote on 
his retirement should be by ballot. 

My speech, as recorded in the Daily Christian Advocate, shows that 
I based my argument altogether on the facts of the case and the provision 
of the Discipline. There is no trace whatever of any personal animus. 
The vote was 180 to 90 in favor of retirement. As I expected, my attitude 
and my speech alienated not only some of the bishops and members of 


the General Conference, but, what was of far more importance to me, 
some of my oldest friends, whom I had known from boyhood, but who 
idolized Bishop Wilson and who said, "It is too absurd that little Jimmy 
Cannon should urge the superannuation of a great man like Bishop Wil- 

The all-absorbing issue of the General Conference of 1914, however, 
was the Vanderbilt question. The relation of Vanderbilt University 
to the Church had been carried first to the lower court of the state of 
Tennessee, where the decision was against the position of the university, 
and then to the Tennessee Court of Appeals, where the decision had 
been against the contention of the General Conference and in favor of 
the university. 

Faced with the final court decision, the General Conference was called 
upon to decide what position it should take. There were two reports. 
The majority report was offered by those who held that the General 
Conference should cut loose entirely from the university, disclaim any 
connection whatever with it, ban it as having violated most sacred 
obligations, and proceed at once to establish two new universities, one 
at Atlanta, Georgia, and one at Dallas, Texas. The minority report held 
that the decision of the court gave to the General Conference the power 
of confirmation of the university trustees. While I did not agree with 
the decision of the court, and believed that the university was, by the 
laws of the State of Tennessee, the property of the Church, yet I had 
decided that it would be a great mistake to sever entirely the relation 
existing between the Church and the university, and I believed that the 
power of confirmation was a real bond of control. 

The first speaker for the majority report was Dr. A. J. Lamar. As 
he had not finished his argument when the time expired, on my motion 
his time was extended until he finished his speech. I was the first 
speaker for the minority report, and as Dr. Lamar's time had been 
extended, my time was also extended. . . . 

Had the issue been simply to retain the power of confirmation, or to 
sever all relations, the General Conference would probably have voted 
to retain the right to confirm; but the matter was complicated not only 
by the determination of those who had become very hostile to Vander- 
bilt University, but also by the desire on the part of Texas and Georgia 
to become official educational centers, with Vanderbilt entirely cut out. 
Even with that complication, sentiment was nearly equally divided. 
Near the close of the debate, I conferred with Dr. H. N. Snyder, 13 and 

13. Henry Nelson Snyder (1865-1949), assistant in Latin at Vanderbilt from 1887 to 
1890, became Professor of English Literature at Wofford College after 1890 and served 


we agreed that we thought the battle was won. At that juncture Dr. 
W. F. Tillett got the floor, and in his speech made some statements 
which Bishop Hoss declared to be of a personal nature, and threw the 
Conference into an uproar by demanding the right to correct mis- 
statements which he claimed had been made by Dr. Tillett. 

Whether the Bishop presiding should have granted the floor to 
Bishop Hoss was a much-disputed question, but he did secure the floor. 
At once there emerged a strong personal element, which up to that time 
had largely been kept out of the debate. It was late in the afternoon 
and, believing that the Conference was not then in a proper frame of 
mind to pass calmly upon the merits of the question, I sought an ad- 
journment, but the other side insisted upon an immediate vote, which 
they won, and then, fearful of what might happen after the delegates 
had had time for discussion and reflection, the motion was promptly 
made to reconsider, which motion was as promptly laid on the table, and 
thus the matter was finally settled. 

After the General Conference I insisted, editorially and otherwise, 
that the General Board of Education should exercise the right given by 
the court, and pass upon the trustees elected at the Vanderbilt com- 
mencement of 1914. The friends of Atlanta and Dallas defeated any 
such action. . . . 

as president from 1902 to 1942. He was also a member of the Unification Commission 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 

V. Public Life and Social Reform 

■lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll Illlll III lllillllllllllll 

Virginia (to 1909) 

It has fallen to my lot to have had, from early manhood, an ever- 
increasing activity in public life. It had been my expectation in my early 
youth to give my life to the practice of law with some probable political 
activity, but with the chief ambition to become a judge of the higher 
courts and, ultimately, of the Supreme Court of the United States. But 
when, during my college days, I definitely decided to become a Christian 
minister, there was no uncertainty in my own mind as to the meaning 
and sweep of that decision. All thought of a legal or political career was 
definitely abandoned. From the day that decision was made down to 
the present hour there has been no wavering, either in conduct or in 
thought. I fully realized the momentous character of the decision. I 
projected myself in thought down the years, endeavoring to weigh 
carefully and conscientiously the opportunities of service in the world 
about me open both to a Christian layman and to a Christian minister. 

There have been some good friends who have thought I made a 
mistake, that I should have gone on with my original purpose and should 
have entered public political life, and should have carried on my work 
as a Christian layman. Indeed, in one of the meetings of the College 
of Bishops, an episcopal colleague declared that if I wanted to do the 
sort of work which I was doing, I should resign as a bishop and give 
myself to that kind of work. But never, since that hour when far into 
the night watches I debated and settled the question, has there ever been 
any doubt whatever in my own mind. 

Through nearly fifty years of more or less troublous, tempestuous, 
tempting times I have been kept steady by the fact that I desired abso- 
lutely nothing in the way of political office or honor. All my work in 
public life has been in behalf of some social or moral reform. Such ac- 
tivity as I may have engaged in in the political sphere other than that 
which is the duty of any good citizen has been to accomplish what I 
conceived to be some moral purpose. When legislation has been neces- 
sary to secure the desired result, the opponents of such legislation have 
not hesitated to endeavor to becloud the issue, to ascribe false and selfish 


motives, and to go to the extreme of denunciation, abuse, slander, and 
even persecution. 

Doubtless many mistakes have been made in the activities of these 
years, but notwithstanding persistent, vindictive, and fierce attacks by in- 
dividuals, newspapers, hostile political and ecclesiastical groups, even 
with the aid of prejudiced court officials, all have utterly failed to show 
that I ever desired any political office or that any personal profit ever 
accrued to me from any of these activities in behalf of social reforms. 

Rum, Romanism, and Bourbonism — the last in personal, public, and 
church life — at various times and in various ways have organized to 
defeat the work which I have tried to do, even if it involved my own 
personal destruction. That no one of them, nor all of them combined, 
have been able to destroy me has not been because of my superior abilities, 
but because of the inability of my opponents to show at any time any 
motive for the work which I was doing other than the openly declared 
aim of that work. 

While sometimes taxed to the extreme limit of financial, physical, 
mental, and spiritual ability, during all these years I have never had the 
slightest doubt as to the final outcome of these personal attacks. Know- 
ing all the facts, I knew that the proper presentation of the facts would 
disprove, indeed wipe out, all the charges of my opponents. In the 
pages which follow I shall endeavor to present, as fairly and impartially 
as I can, the real facts concerning my public life and relation to social 
and moral reforms. 

In the preceding pages the background has been given which made 
possible if not probable the years which were to follow. The roots which 
developed the fruitage of later years sprang naturally from the circum- 
stances and associations of my childhood and youth. The barroom across 
from my boyhood bedroom, involving the death of my beloved uncle, 
the personal contact with the homes and families of drunkards, the 
callousness of saloonkeepers, [knowledge of] which came from going 
the weekly rounds with my mother in her errands of mercy; above all, 
the teaching and example of my father and mother — these had led me 
already, in my childhood and youth, to despise the liquor traffic. My 
experiences with drunken college classmates, my work in connection with 
the Southern Crusader in the Virginia campaign for local option, and 
my teaching of children in a Band of Hope at Princeton, had confirmed 
and strengthened the convictions of my boyhood. 

But it was when I became a pastor that I was obliged to face the 
question of my personal responsibility, not only for the personal habits 
of the members of my churches but for the responsibility of those same 



members for the existence of the licensed liquor traffic in the com- 
munity. It was easy to preach on the evils of drunkenness and the im- 
portance of total abstinence. It was not quite so easy to preach plainly 
and positively upon the selfish, unchristian conduct of men in selling 
intoxicants to steal away their neighbors' brains, especially when, in all 
my congregations, there were liquor sellers, members in good standing 
in other churches. But I did do such preaching. 

I soon became convinced, however, that my responsibility did not 
stop with preaching against dramshops and drunkenness. Liquor li- 
censes in the various neighborhoods where I preached were all granted at 
the discretion of the county judge, but he could refuse to grant a license 
upon the petition of the people in the neighborhood where the dram- 
shop was to be located. I waited until I had collected my facts as to the 
location of the saloons in my circuit: the amount of drunkenness, the 
families affected, the number of church members living near to each 
saloon, the names of the people who signed the petition to the judge 
for the license, and other pertinent facts. 

I prepared my sermon with unusual care, writing it out in full, and, 
contrary to my custom, reading it word for word, that there might be 
no question as to exactly what I had said. I took for my text the latter 
part of the fourteenth chapter of Romans: "Destroy not him with thy 
meat, for whom Christ died. It is good, neither to eat flesh nor to drink 
wine nor anything, whereby thy brother stumbleth or is offended or is 
made weak." 

After discussing the facts of the saloons in their midst, of the drunk- 
enness, of the families affected, of the duty of followers of Christ to live 
unselfish, helpful lives, I emphasized that the members of the Church 
were responsible for the saloons and for all the evils wrought by them 
until those members had done everything they could by personal persua- 
sion, with the saloonkeepers, and, as citizens, by a petition to the judge, 
to have the saloons closed. 

I did not preach this sermon until near the close of the first year on 
my first charge, as I wanted to get the facts and an understanding of 
conditions. My congregations at all the churches were quite large, in- 
cluding the members of other churches in which there was no preaching, 
and, I think in every case, including the saloonkeepers. I preached the 
same sermon in succession at all my appointments. 

I was not in the habit of reading my sermons, for, preaching freely 
from notes, I could watch the congregation very closely. But, being 
obliged to keep my eyes on my manuscript, I could not see what im- 
pression the sermon was making. I could only feel. As I advanced from 



point to point, the congregation became very quiet, and when I called 
upon them, the members of the churches, to meet their responsibility and 
close the saloons, there was a stillness all over the church which could 
be felt. The congregation remained quiet until after the benediction, 
but in every case, after getting outside the church, there was animated 
discussion in many groups. 

That sermon was the first time that I ever grappled publicly with 
the liquor problem, and I learned then, in the first year of my ministry, 
some things of great importance: first, never state anything for a fact 
unless you are certain that it is true; second, one fact is worth a page 
of rhetoric; third, in any discussion of a disputed matter, write what 
you have to say so that you cannot be misquoted ; fourth, expect criticism 
or attack whenever you preach against the lust of the flesh, the lust of 
the eye, or the pride of life. 

Criticism of my sermon was plentiful, the most blatant and abusive 
coming from some younger men who did not hear the sermon but who 
quoted me as saying what I had not said, and what I did not believe. 
I made no direct reply to those parties by name, but, with the brief 
statement that I had been misquoted, I published in the county paper 
exactly what I did say on the disputed points. While it did not soothe 
the lacerated feelings of the lovers of intoxicants, it effectually stopped 
their mouths, so far as such misrepresentation was concerned. I had 
planned to organize to secure the signing of petitions against the grant- 
ing of a license, but at the Annual Conference session a short time 
later, much to my surprise, I was given another appointment, and had 
no opportunity to follow up my sermon. 

This experience probably does not warrant the amount of space which 
has been given to it, but it marked the beginning of my public warfare 
with the liquor traffic and taught me some important lessons. The 
facts concerning the liquor traffic, which I tried faithfully to proclaim in 
that sermon, produced, as they always will, a line of cleavage in the 
several communities where the sermon was preached. Brother William 
A. Smith, my leading steward at Charlotte Court House, said to me the 
next morning, calling the two liquor sellers of the place by name, "They 
will never forgive you. They, their wives and children, were in the 
congregation, and the men to whom they sell were sitting all around 
the church. They may come to hear you again, but if they do, they will 
take back seats." 

For once Brother Smith was not a good prophet. Both of the liquor 
sellers were goodhearted men who had never faced their responsibility 
squarely. Their wives were much distressed, especially one, because she 



had a bright Christian son who was planning to be a Presbyterian min- 
ister. Neither man showed me any ill will, but treated me with respect, 
and before very long they closed their barrooms. At the other points on 
the circuit, the licenses were renewed, I think, until swept out by the 
Mann Law, but the lines of battle were more tightly drawn than ever 

In my two years' pastorate at Newport News I came to close grips 
with the saloons. By common consent no licenses were granted by the 
judge for saloons from Twenty-fifth Street to beyond the shipyards, but 
on the other side of that line there were five or six of the so-called 
high-class saloons within three or four blocks of the business center. 
Across the railroad tracks, in "Hell's Half-Acre" there were several or- 
dinary barrooms which were patronized by laborers on the docks at 
the coal elevator. Also, on the east side of the railroad tracks in the 
section inhabited by the colored population and by many laboring men 
there were several barrooms. Considering the floating character of the 
population at that time, while there was much drinking by certain ele- 
ments, yet in general, fairly good order was maintained. . . . 

I found myself more embarrassed in preaching on the evils of the 
saloon than I had been on the Charlotte Circuit, for I had as members 
of my church three or four women whose husbands were leading saloon- 
keepers and whose children attended our Sunday School. Of course, it 
was embarrassing to these women and their children to hear the truth 
proclaimed concerning the saloons, but there was no choice in the mat- 
ter. Whenever the proper development of a text included the saloon in 
its scope, I never dodged because of the presence of anyone, even of the 
saloonkeepers themselves, who sometimes attended with their wives. At 
the Quarterly Conferences, it was predicted freely by some of the stew- 
ards that these wives and children would either withdraw from the 
church or discontinue coming, but it was recognized that there was no 
other church to which they could go without incurring the same em- 
barrassment, and, as a matter of fact, they never did withdraw or dis- 
continue coming to church or discontinue their support of the work 
of the church. . . . 

I began to study while in Newport News the close alliance between 
the political leaders of the state and the liquor movement, and in a ser- 
mon I declared, even at that early date, that the Christian citizens who 
sat in the pews would be obliged to convince their political leaders of 
the state that their influence was worth more than that of the liquor 
dealers and their followers. From Newport News I was sent to Farm- 
ville, in the very heart of Southside Virginia, an old conservative town, 


with an unusually large proportion of intelligent, well-to-do citizens. 
The saloons in the town were run by men of good family and conducted 
as nearly like decent, orderly places as it is well possible for a saloon 
to be, but, as the song in Pinafore declares, "Gild the farthing if you 
will, Yet it is a farthing still," so a saloon where alcohol is sold is a 
saloon, no matter what you call it, or under what conditions the alcohol 
is sold. 

Not only did many homes in Farmville suffer from these saloons, but 
as Farmville was a trading point for the outlying country districts, the 
farmers, having sold their tobacco, drank alcohol and carried it away to 
their homes in jugs. There had been little preaching on the subject by 
the other ministers when I came to Farmville, although the pastors 
agreed that the saloons were an evil. 

While I had made statements in my sermons which indicated clearly 
my opposition to the liquor traffic, it was not until my second year that, 
after gathering all the pertinent facts which I could, I preached a special 
sermon one night on the subject, having given notice of the topic of my 
sermon in the town paper. The church was crowded, many opponents 
of the saloons being present from the other churches with a very large 
contingent of the patrons and defenders of the saloons. I preached the 
most lengthy, sweeping sermon that I had ever preached on any subject, 
having set forth the evils of the sale of alcohol for beverage purposes. 

I laid special stress upon the responsibility of the people sitting in the 
pews before me for the existence of the saloons in the town, [and] 
especially emphasized the responsibility resting upon the town council, 
which had large powers in the matter of granting liquor licenses. My 
recollection at this distant date is that the town council had the authority 
to recommend or disapprove the application for a liquor license when 
made to the county judge. In a town like Farmville such a sermon was a 
subject for conversation and discussion and dispute in the stores, in the 
homes, on the streets, and in the warehouses. A great body of my own 
church people stood squarely behind me. Some members who might 
not have previously done so were realizing the effects of the saloons on 
their own children. 

About that time the Farmville District Methodist was started, and I 
was elected by the District Conference to act as editor. It gave me, for 
the first time, the absolute control of a newspaper in which I could write 
what I believed, as often as I desired, and without limit as to space. 
This weapon I have found to be exceedingly effective, and from that 
time onward for twenty-five years, I owned and controlled a religious 
newspaper, without which I know that I could never have been able 


to accomplish what I did in the field of social and moral reform. At 
the session of the Virginia Annual Conference in 1893 I introduced a 
strong temperance resolution. This resolution, and all resolutions of a 
similar nature introduced for several years, were bitterly opposed by Dr. 
Paul Whitehead, secretary of the Conference, and some others who sup- 
ported his views. He had always been able to defeat such resolutions by 
insisting that they introduced political questions into the Conference 
proceedings, that our Church had consistently and positively refused to 
take any action on any question involving activities of the states. 

Dr. Whitehead, while a very able, good man, had strong prejudices, 
and he was specially vigorous in his antagonism to the simple resolution 
which was presented. However, the resolution was adopted, and al- 
though he continued to oppose similar and more sweeping resolutions 
in the following years, he finally stated in making his last speech in op- 
position to such resolutions, "However, it is just whistling against the 
wind. My views are well-known and unchangeable, and I will speak 
no more." 

It so happened that the news editor of the Richmond Times was 
a relative and an admirer of Dr. Whitehead, and, while perhaps a fair 
man in his usual handling of news, had without any personal knowledge 
of me allowed his estimate of Dr. Whitehead to affect the handling of 
news items concerning me. 

At the Virginia Annual Conference in November, 1900, the . . . re- 
porter [who] represented the Times . . . sent a false report of the pro- 
ceedings of the Conference as far as they related to me. The news editor 
seized hold upon this false report and gave it a front page headline: 
"Distrust of the Rev. James Cannon, Chancellor Smith Admits that 
There Is Ground for It." When this publication reached Norfolk, resolu- 
tions were adopted by the Conference that the statement was "false in 
fact and malicious in spirit." Dr. W. W. Smith read a telegram that 
he had sent to Joseph Bryan, Esq., editor of the Richmond Times-} 
"Please say that the statement in the Times today that 'Chancellor Smith 
admits that there is ground for distrust of Rev. James Cannon, Jr.,' 
is absolutely untrue. What Chancellor Smith did say was that he be- 
lieved there was absolutely no ground for distrust, (signed) W. W. 
Smith, November 21, 1900." . . . 

This second personal attack by the Richmond Times, both in the 
headlines and news story, indicated the animus in the Times office. Dr. 

I.Joseph Bryan (1845-1908), a Virginia industrialist, in 1887 became publisher of 
the Richmond Times and owner of the Richmond Evening Leader. He continued as pub- 
lisher after the Times merged with the Dispatch in 1903. 


Smith and I followed up his telegram by going from Norfolk to Rich- 
mond after the adjournment of the Conference to call on Mr. Joseph 
Bryan personally. Mr. Bryan was a gentleman of high type and far 
above any of the petty malice and prejudice of workers in the office of 
the Times. We stated the facts to him and he said he would make a 
thorough investigation, and would make a suitable publication in the 
Times later on. . . . 

When Mr. Bryan returned to Richmond, after a trip to the Hot 
Springs, he took up the matter at once and wrote me: "I have pre- 
pared and will publish tomorrow in the editorial columns of the Times 
an article entitled 'An Amend Honorable.' " This editorial did appear 
and the expressions contained in it were entirely satisfactory, but, as I 
wrote to Mr. Bryan, the attacks made upon me were all headlined on 
the front page, and were seen by all the readers of the Times, whereas 
editorials were not read by any large percentage of the readers. . . . 

But while Mr. Bryan was entirely sincere in his position, yet 
extreme prejudice and bitterness toward me took possession of many 
of the workers in the office of the paper, which never, in nearly fifty 
years, has praised or even approved any of my actions, but has at every 
opportunity attacked me with more or less bitterness and malice. Numer- 
ous other newspapers have attacked me during the years, but none have 
ever equaled the persistent and vicious abuse, vilification, and slander 
of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. 

My removal from Farmville, in 1894, to the position of principal of 
Blackstone Female Institute, later Blackstone College, took me finally 
out of the pastorate, and my relation to social and moral reforms was 
of a more general nature than before. There were three saloons in the 
town of Blackstone, and some disreputable "blind tigers" in the county. 
The Farmville District Methodist, whose name was changed to the 
Methodist Recorder, was circulated all through Southside Virginia. It 
was well-known that one of the declared aims of the paper was the pro- 
motion of temperance and of local prohibition. A column was started in 
the paper which was headed, "The Forefront of the Battle," under which 
title were printed strong articles and an array of telling facts against 
the liquor traffic. Frequent communications and editorials on the same 
subject were printed. 

The first open clash with the State Liquor Dealers' Association was 
on a matter of granting certain liquor licenses which I vigorously op- 
posed. The Richmond office of the liquor dealers sent down an attorney 
to represent the local saloonkeepers, and ridiculed the idea that the 
views of Christian ministers should have any weight with the judge 


in the matter of granting liquor licenses. The county judge refused to 
grant the licenses, but an appeal was taken to the circuit judge, who 
held that the word "may" in the statute was mandatory in its meaning 
and not permissive, simply, and that the only way to prevent the grant- 
ing of a license would be to hold a local-option election. 

My experience in these cases showed me that the liquor traffic was 
thoroughly organized in the state of Virginia, and that it not only had 
headquarters in Richmond, but that it had its representatives in all the 
principal cities of the state, and that while the local liquor sellers paid 
local counsel, they could count upon assistance from their state organiza- 
tion whenever they called for it. 2 

Thus before I had been ten years in the ministry, I was persona non 
grata to most of the daily press of the state, and in 1898 my position in 
the Annual Conference on the liquor traffic was so firmly established 
that I was elected director of the Anti-Saloon League of America from 
the Virginia Conference. 

At the National Convention of the Anti-Saloon League, held in 
Washington in 1903, there were certain proposals brought forward by 
Dr. P. A. Baker, the General Superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League 
of America. 3 These proposals were important and worthy of full dis- 
cussion, as they affected the relation between the state and national or- 
ganizations of the League. As the representative from Virginia, I took 
my responsibility seriously and pointed out changes which I thought 
should be made in the proposals. 

Dr. Baker was an able administrator, possessed of unusual guiding 
power and inclined to be impatient of any criticism of his proposals, 
and he endeavored to set me down or run over me; but, contrary to his 
wishes and much to his surprise, the convention voted to make the 
changes which I proposed. 

At the close of the session I was standing in the rear of the plat- 
form in conversation, and I heard Dr. Baker say to the secretary, the 
Reverend S. E. Nicholson, 4 "Who is this fellow Cannon who is trying 

2. Cannon's amplification of the hostility of the liquor dealers was deleted at this point 
in the manuscript. 

3-Purley A. Baker (1858-1924), Methodist minister from Ohio, was elected state 
superintendent of the Ohio Anti-Saloon League in 1897 and unanimously elected superin- 
tendent of the National Anti-Saloon League in 1903, succeeding Howard H. Russell, 
founder of the movement. 

4. Samuel Edgar Nicholson (1 862-1934) is listed in Who's Who in America as a "re- 
former." He was active in the Society of Friends and was field secretary of the Indiana 
Anti-Saloon League from 1898 to 1899. He later worked with the Maryland and Pennsyl- 
vania Anti-Saloon Leagues. He was elected secretary of the National Anti-Saloon League 
in 1898 and held that position until his death. 


to rewrite our program?" Nicholson replied, "Oh, don't you know who 
he is? He is the man who wrote 'The Minority Report on the War 
Claim' at the Southern Methodist Conference last year, condemning the 
book agents and calling for the return of the money; you can't rule him 

Dr. Baker had a great way of chewing his lip. I watched him from 
the rear. He chewed on his lip and said to Nicholson, "Well, if we 
can't rule him down, we will make him a member of the Executive 
Committee, and get his support." So whether because Dr. Baker desired 
it, or the Committee on Nominations decided upon it, I was elected a 
member of the Executive Committee of the Anti-Saloon League of 
America, and have continued a member of that Committee until the 
present time. . . . 

The constitution of the Anti-Saloon League of America and of the 
affiliated state Anti-Saloon Leagues is simple and clear. "The aim is the 
extermination of the beverage liquor traffic." In the accomplishment of 
this aim, the Anti-Saloon League declares itself to be "nonpartisan and 
omnipartisan." It knows no political party as such and its membership 
includes members of all political parties. Its pledge of neutrality and 
nonpartisanship is declared plainly and unequivocally: 

"The League pledges itself to avoid affiliation with any political 
party as such and to maintain the attitude of strict neutrality on all 
questions of public policy not directly and immediately concerned with 
the traffic in strong drink." 

The entire objective and work of the League are expressed in these 
brief statements. Everything else is a matter of effective organization to 
carry out this openly declared aim. 

The League declares itself to be "The Church in action against the 
Saloon" and asks the support of the various church bodies. Having 
thoroughly considered the platform of the League, I became fully satis- 
fied that it presented a feasible and effective method for carrying on the 
warfare for the extermination of the beverage liquor traffic. 

The program of the League is contained in the three words: agita- 
tion, legislation, law enforcement. Agitation includes, of course, all 
forms of discussion of the beverage liquor traffic, whether by posters, 
printed page, radio, sermons, public addresses, or aggressive campaign 
speeches. The purpose of agitation is total abstinence, and the second 
point of the League program, legislation, is to protect society from the 
legalized or illegal liquor traffic. The third equally important item of 
the program is law enforcement, which unfortunately has never been 
properly magnified. 



The leaders of the League at that time were: Dr. P. A. Baker, Gen- 
eral Superintendent; Dr. Howard H. Russell, the Founder and First 
General Superintendent of the League, now Associate General Superin- 
tendent; Bishop Luther B. Wilson, President; the Reverend S. E. Nichol- 
son, Secretary; and a younger group of men from the state of Ohio, 
Ernest H. Cherrington, E. C. Dinwiddie, and Wayne B. Wheeler. 5 

These men had all been called out and developed under the leader- 
ship of Dr. Baker and were his loyal lieutenants. I made a fairly ac- 
curate appraisal of these men in those early days, little thinking for how 
many years I would be closely associated with them. From that time 
down to the present, I have attended practically every meeting of the 
Executive Committee of the Anti-Saloon League of America, and have 
given my time and strength to carry on successfully the work of the 
League. Among men of such positive personalities there have been, of 
necessity, many differences of opinion, sometimes as sharp as those 
between Peter and Paul, but these differences of opinion have been 
concerning matters of policy and not concerning the main objective of 
the League. As during all the years I have never been a salaried official 
of the League, either state or national, my speech and vote have always 
been recognized as free from any self-interest. 

After studying the program and attending national conventions of 
the Anti-Saloon League of America, I, along with some other prohibi- 

5. Howard Hyde Russell (1855-1946), born at Stillwater, Minnesota, was at one time 
or another clerk, cowboy, lawyer, Congregational minister, and officially designated 
founder of the Anti-Saloon League. He was the first General Superintendent (1 895-1903), 
and active until the 1940's in the antiliquor movement. 

Luther B. Wilson (1856-1928), a native of Baltimore, entered the Baltimore Annual 
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1878 and was elected bishop by the 
General Conference in 1908. 

Wayne B. Wheeler (1869-1927), born at Brookfield, Ohio, began temperance work 
while at Oberlin College; he was active in the Ohio Anti-Saloon League, became gen- 
eral counsel (1915) and Legislative Superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League of 
America. He successfully prosecuted more than 2,000 saloon cases, some of them before 
the Supreme Court of the United States. 

Edwin Courtland Dinwiddie (1867-1935) was born in Springfield, Ohio; entered 
the Evangelical Lutheran Ministry in 1894 and became active in the temperance move- 
ment. He was the first National Legislative Superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League 
in America (1 899-1907) and again (1911-1920). He directed Anti-Saloon League 
campaigns before Congress such as those that resulted in the passage of the Webb- 
Kenyon Act (1913) and the National Prohibition Resolution. 

Ernest H. Cherrington (1 877-1 950) was born in Hamden, Ohio. Active in the 
temperance and national prohibition movement, he was historian of the Anti-Saloon 
League, editor of the Standard Encyclopedia of the Alcohol Problem (1925, ), sec- 
retary of the National Executive Commission, member of the National Administrative 
Commission and general manager of the publishing interests, all of the Anti-Saloon 
League of America (191 5-1936). 


tion leaders of Virginia, was persuaded that the time had come to or- 
ganize an Anti-Saloon League of Virginia and so a conference was held 
[in the year 1901] in the Second Baptist Church in Richmond at which 
the Anti-Saloon League of Virginia was organized, with representatives 
of several of the leading religious denominations composing the Exec- 
utive Committee. I was a member of that committee. 

This action* might not have produced immediate important results, 
but an unusual occurrence brought the Virginia League into unexpected 
prominence. Dr. Baker, the General Superintendent of the National 
League, had sent as Superintendent of the Virginia League, the Reverend 
C. H. Crawford, a good man, but unsuited to carry on the work among 
Southern people, with whom he had had no previous personal contacts. 
He was carrying on the work in routine fashion until a decision was 
rendered by Judge Clarence J. Campbell concerning the selling of in- 
toxicants by a drug store located at Amherst Court House. 

This decision was criticized in the press by Superintendent Crawford, 
and he was cited by Judge Campbell for contempt of court. He ap- 
peared before the court, was represented by Judge William Hodges 
Mann, a very able lawyer, and Judge Campbell was obliged to pro- 
nounce him not guilty of contempt. After the decision was rendered, 
however, and the court was adjourned, Judge Campbell sought out 
Superintendent Crawford and, drawing out a whip, proceeded to whip 
him with it. 

This incident was headlined not only in Virginia papers, but through- 
out the country, and overnight Superintendent Crawford and the Anti- 
Saloon League of Virginia sprang into unusual prominence. At the 
next session of the General Assembly of Virginia, Judge Campbell was 
impeached, tried, found guilty of conduct unbecoming his office, and 
dismissed from the bench. While the wet newspapers did everything 
they could under the circumstances to minimize the importance of the 
Anti-Saloon League, yet, the whole state was informed as to the aims 
and methods of the League and of the character of the men who were 
standing behind it as the Executive Committee. 

About the time of this episode, Judge Mann was elected as senator 
for the Twenty-eighth District of Virginia, in which district the town 
of Blackstone is located. 6 He had been the county judge of Nottoway 

6. William Hodges Mann (i 843-1927) was born in Williamsburg, Virginia. He 
served as a Confederate scout and spy during the Civil War. From 1870 to 1892 he was 
county judge of Nottoway. In 1899 he was elected to the Virginia State Senate. He 
became chairman of the committee on the revision of the laws of Virginia in 1903, was 
governor of Virginia (1910-1914), and author of the Mann liquor law (1903) which 
closed about eight hundred saloons in the county districts where there was no police 



County for twenty years, and during all that time he had flady refused 
to grant liquor licenses, compelling the applicants to go on to the circuit 
court, where the license was usually granted. Judge Mann was of the 
finest type of Virginia gentleman. He was an active elder in the Presby- 
terian Church, and when I had preached in the Methodist Church at 
Nottoway Court House, I had been entertained frequently in his delight- 
ful home. Our relations were quite intimate when he was elected state 
senator. He did me the honor to ask my views on matters pertaining to 
the moral and educational work of the state and, as indicated elsewhere, 
he introduced at my request what was known as the County High 
School Bill, which after deprecatory criticism and opposition from hostile 
sources was finally enacted into law. 7 

Judge Mann and I fully recognized in our discussion of the liquor 
situation in Virginia that a great amount of education was necessary 
to destroy the legalized liquor traffic in the state as a whole. We decided 
that the first step should be to prevent the granting of a liquor license 
in any country community at any crossroads store or in any village with 
less than five hundred inhabitants. We worked together for some time 
to try to frame a law which would prevent the granting of such licenses. 
At last the question narrowed itself down in our minds to the matter 
of the integrity and good faith of the circuit judges of Virginia. 

The bill, when introduced, was immediately attacked by the liquor 
traffic and its ever-obedient allies, the wet press. The crucial words in 
the bill are: "The judge must be satisfied that the granting of the said 
license shall not be contrary to the material or moral interest of the 
community." On every other point it might be possible for the applicant 
to meet the requirements of the law, but this requirement compelled 
every judge, in compliance with his oath of office, to be able to declare 
that he was satisfied that the granting of such license would not be con- 
trary to the material and moral interests of the community. 

The first discussion of the measure was had before the House Com- 
mittee of the General Assembly. The principal speeches were made by 
Judge Mann and myself. We urged that the General Assembly cer- 
tainly should not want liquor licenses to be granted if they were con- 
trary to the material and moral interests of the community, and it was 
exceedingly difficult for the representatives of the liquor traffic to declare 
that they did want licenses granted regardless of the material and moral 
interests of the community. 

7. On March 14, 1906, House Bill No. 99, after being amended and passed by 
the Senate, was signed by the speaker. It was designed "to establish and maintain a 
system of public high schools," and it appropriated money for this purpose (Journal of 
the House of Delegates of the State of Virginia for the Session of 1906, p. 888). 


It was my first speech before a legislative committee, and I was glad 
that it was upon a proposition where the evils of the liquor traffic could 
be emphasized, along with the logic of the language of the proposed 
law. The attorney for the Liquor Dealers* Association was a man of con- 
siderable ability and of good standing in his local community. He recog- 
nized very clearly his inability to meet the arguments which had been 
advanced; so he made his principal attack upon me as a preacher in 
politics. He called upon me with great emphasis, "Dr. Cannon, go 
back to your pulpit. Do not drag the ermine of your sacred office into 
the dirty paths of politics," and much more of the same tenor. 

The bill failed to pass at that session, but it became a rallying cry 
for the League throughout the state in the election of delegates to the 
next session of the General Assembly. 

Meanwhile I had been elected [1904] president of the Anti-Saloon 
League of Virginia. The Anti-Saloon League Convention, in addition 
to the Executive Committee, elected a Legislative Committee to have 
special charge of all legislation proposed and advocated before the Gen- 
eral Assembly of the state. I was elected chairman of that committee and 
continued to fill that position until my election as bishop in 191 8. The 
Executive Committee fleeted a Headquarters Committee with authority 
to carry on most of the work of the League, and I was elected chairman 
of that committee also. However, on any major proposition I did not 
favor action by the Headquarters Committee alone, but always insisted 
upon the coming together of the larger Executive Committee that it 
might carry the responsibility for action taken. 

At about the same time I was elected chairman of the Committee 
on Temperance of the Virginia Annual Conference, which position also 
I held until my election as bishop. Thus, the temperance workers in 
both my own church and in the state at large placed upon my shoulders 
a weight of responsibility for the development of the temperance program 
and for the presentation of the program to the General Assembly. 

Just about this time [December, 1903] the Reverend J. Sidney Peters 
and I bought the Baltimore and Richmond Christian Advocate, into 
which was merged the Southern Methodist Recorder. The editorial 
policy of the paper was committed to my hands, although I never took 
any important position without consultation with Brother Peters, who 
was a prudent and wise councillor, and as hostile as myself to the bev- 
erage liquor traffic. 

It is difficult to estimate what control of the Advocate meant in the 
advancement of the work which I was trying to do in the fields of edu- 
cation and prohibition. The Methodist Recorder had performed a great 



service, but the consolidation of the two papers gave a far more power- 
ful and effective medium of expression. While the daily wet press 
reached many more thousands of readers than did the Advocate, yet the 
replies to these attacks published in the Advocate reached preachers and 
leading laymen in every community of the state. ... It was a great source 
of strength that during the entire fourteen years of my work on the 
Advocate against the liquor traffic there was never any protest recorded 
by any preacher of the Virginia Conference against the positions taken 
in the editorial columns of the paper on that subject. 

About this time when I had become sufficiently prominent in the 
Anti-Saloon warfare to be the target of the wet press, I also became the 
target for anonymous attacks. Letters of ridicule, abuse, obscenity, 
threats, began to pour in and have continued in greater or less volume 
for the past forty years. Many of these letters, evidently inspired by the 
liquor traffic leaders, if not written by them, endeavored to put a stop to 
my work by threats of what they would do to me in one way or another 
to wreck me physically, financially, or in reputation. One of the great 
Scripture texts of my life is "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee," 
so that we may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper and I will not fear 
what man shall do unto me." Whether it is because of that text or not, 
it is true that I have rarely had the experience of fear. I know that some 
of my friends have thought me to be fearless to the point of recklessness 
in running risks without taking full precautions against harm, but no 
threats which have ever been made against me have ever had any effect 
whatever in changing the line of conduct which' I had determined to 

I did not realize in those early days how far enemies would really 
go to destroy one whom they hated or who was an obstacle to their 
own plans and purposes. The time-worn method in the law courts "to 
abuse the plaintiff's attorney" took shape, as far as I was concerned, as 
the method of the wet press and the" friends of the liquor traffic, seeking 
to diminish the confidence of the people of Virginia in the sanity and 
sincerity of my leadership. At every successive stage of the conflict this 
same method has been followed with ever-increasing bitterness and 

While I was publishing the Methodist Recorder at Blackstone, I pur- 
chased a sufficient stock of body and display type to set the articles and 
the advertising in the paper. I also purchased a good flat-bed press, a 
small job press, a paper cutter, and other appliances necessary to get 
out the paper properly. I made a contract with a thoroughly competent 
printer to come to Blackstone to do the work on the paper. He was 


much interested in his work, and, as I always did while I was an editor, 
I frequently went to the printing house to have a conversation with the 
printer and to see that certain articles were set in certain type and that 
proper display was given. I learned to set type slowly with many typo- 
graphical mistakes. I learned also how to make up the paper and to 
lock up the forms and get it on the press for printing. . . . 

About this same time I was elected a member of the town council of 
Blackstone. I made no effort to secure the position and took no part 
in the election, but the people of the town felt that I was a citizen fully 
identified with the interest of the community. Shordy after my election, 
an application for a permit to erect a building in what was known as the 
fire zone of the town came before the council. The applicant was a 
man of position and standing and asked to be permitted to erect a 
frame building on a lot which he owned in the business part of the 
town. He said that he knew that there was an ordinance prohibiting 
the erection of anything but brick, stone, or metal buildings in that 
part of the town, but that he was unable to erect anything but a frame 
building. He argued that the lot was his own and that he had a right 
to put on it any sort of building he desired. He was a very determined 
man and expressed his views with great vigor before the council. 

When we endeavored to convince him that we could not make an 
exception in his case, he bluntly defied us by saying, "All right, I will 
make the exception. I will go ahead and build the house and you can't 
stop me." And he was strong-willed, if not bull-headed, enough to have 
carried out his threats, but some of his closest friends and relatives finally 
convinced him that he would not be able to erect the building and, as 
I recall, he either sold the lot or erected a brick building upon it. 

In my speech before the committee of the General Assembly on 
the Mann Law, I used this case as an illustration of the right of society 
to protect itself, even though it placed severe restrictions upon the rights 
of individual members of society. I argued that if society had the right 
to protect itself from the hazard of fire involved in frame buildings, 
surely it had the right to protect itself from the demoralization and 
"damnation" which came to the husbands, the brothers, and the sons of 
the community from the licensing of saloons. 

I remember the use of the word "damnation" was seized upon by 
the liquor attorney and the wet press as indicating the violent and ex- 
treme language which I used in my argument for the Mann Bill. The 
liquor attorney shouted, "Damnation, damnation, damnation! How does 
that word sound coming from the lips of a messenger of the Prince of 


Asking the privilege of an interruption I quietly replied, "The Prince 
o£ Peace himself said to the Scribes and Pharisees, 'Ye serpents, ye gen- 
eration of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?'" The 
liquor attorney disputed the accuracy of my quotation, so in my reply 
I read from my pocket Testament a few verses of the Master's terrific 
denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees. 

The effort was made to create sentiment against me as an extreme 
and bitter fanatic by proclaiming that I had stated that liquor sellers 
could not escape the "damnation of hell." While I had not said that, yet 
it so nearly represented what I believed that I was content to allow it 
to go uncontradicted. 

When the General Assembly met, two years later, the liquor traffic 
and the wet press fully realized that the Anti-Saloon League of Virginia 
was not a body which met to pass resolutions and then adjourn, but 
that it was an organization with an office, and with officers who were 
working every day on the platform, in the pulpit, by the printed page, 
to give facts concerning the saloon to the people of Virginia. 

The press was especially critical and denunciatory of the method em- 
ployed by the League to give the position on the liquor traffic of all 
candidates for the General Assembly, for lieutenant-governor, congress- 
man, and senator, so when men announced their candidacy for the Gen- 
eral Assembly, they were called upon to state definitely whether, if 
elected, they would vote for the passage of the Mann Law. Some made 
no reply; some endeavored to dodge the issue; but a large majority de- 
clared their position. The result was that, when the General Assembly 
met, it was found that a clear majority had pledged itself to vote for the 
Mann Bill. 

Then the usual methods were employed to prevent its passage. 
Delay in committee hearings and reports, useless debate in the House 
as to the effect on the finances of the state, debate on proposed amend- 
ments — every device was tried, but all in vain. The bill passed the 
House by a sweeping majority, followed by appeals in the press to the 
Senate to defeat the bill. The passage by the Senate was met with 
doleful prediction of what would happen to the state as a result of the 
rule of the fanatics. 8 

8. This exceedingly complicated measure was approved on April 16, 1903. Essen- 
tially it prohibited the manufacture or sale of liquor without a license. Licenses were 
to be obtained by applying to the county, circuit, or corporation court of the county or 
city in which business was to be conducted. Any person might contest the granting 
of the application; in general, when a town or city of more than five hundred in- 
habitants was involved, the court might grant the license, if "fully satisfied" that the 
applicant was a "fit person" and the place of business suitable. If the community had 



I was sitting on the floor of the Senate when the bill was passed by 
that body and some kind of horse play was carried out in the Senate as 
an amusing incident. The incident was heralded by the wet press as a 
sample of the result of clerical domination, calling for severe condemna- 
tion, with the added declaration that I had no right to be sitting on the 
floor of the Senate. As a matter of fact, as editor of the Advocate, re- 
porting the work of the Assembly for the columns of that paper, just 
as truly as the reporters of the daily press were reporting to their papers, 
I had a press permit from both the Speaker of the House and from the 

The passage of the Mann Law accomplished all that Judge Mann 
and I had expected it would accomplish. Be it said to the honor of the 
circuit judges of Virginia that not one of them granted a liquor license 
after the passage of the Mann Law in country districts or in any village 
with less than five hundred inhabitants. Not one of them could honestly 
authorize such a license as "not contrary to the moral and material in- 
terests of the community." The results of the wiping out of many 
hundreds of saloons throughout the state were so beneficial that even 
many of the farmers who were not personally dry praised the legislation 
and the League for its work in securing its passage. 

Later on, during the close of Judge Mann's term as governor, the 
wet press, in its efforts to destroy the influence of dry leaders and espe- 
cially of myself, praised Judge Mann for the passage of the Mann Law 
as having been carried through without the help of a prohibition worker. 
In order to show the falsity of these statements I addressed a letter to 
Governor Mann, asking him to state the facts as to the influences which 
brought about the passage of the Mann Law; and he made full and 
generous reply. 

About this time the prohibition sentiment was gradually developing 
throughout the nation. Many sections of the country were dry and were 
demanding protection from intoxicants shipped in from wet states. The 

fewer than five hundred inhabitants, however, the court had a more difficult decision to 
make. "If the court be fully satisfied upon the hearing of the testimony . . . that the 
applicant is a fit person . . . , that the place is suitable . . . and police protection afforded," 
. . . that a majority of the qualified voters favors the applicant, and "that the sale of 
ardent spirits at that place will not be contrary to a sound public policy or injurious to 
the morals or the material interest of the community," the court might grant the license. 
If any of these conditions did not exist, the court was to refuse to grant the license. The 
wholesale license for the sale of all liquor cost $350, for malt liquors only $150. The 
license for retail business in cities of more than one thousand cost $350, in other towns 
$175 {Acts and Joint Resolutions passed by the General Assembly of the State of Vir- 
ginia during the Extra Session of 1902-3-4, pp. 217 ff.). Another measure, approved 
Dec. 10, 1903, provided for elections to determine whether a majority of the qualified 
voters approved an application (ibid., pp. 577-578). 



Anti-Saloon League of America formulated and had introduced into 
Congress a bill to control interstate liquor shipments. This bill was not 
passed when first introduced; indeed not for about eight years. In ac- 
cordance with the policy of the League, as chairman of the Legislative 
Committee, I addressed letters to the two United States senators, the 
Honorable John W. Daniel and the Honorable Thomas S. Martin. 9 
Senator Daniel made a rather vague reply stating that he had not had 
time to go into the matter, but that he would consider it and let me 
hear. As a matter of fact, he never did give me any positive reply. 

Senator Martin, however, answered very promptly and definitely, 
and this prompt, clear reply was characteristic of all my dealings with 
him from that time until his death. I went to see him on my next visit 
to Washington, talked with him briefly, and was impressed, not only 
with his sincerity, but even at that date with his utter lack of sympathy 
with the liquor traffic and his willingness to assist in any practical reme- 
dial legislation. I did not, however, become very well acquainted with 
him until several years later on, when conditions in Virginia had 
reached such a crisis that I did seek an interview with him and ex- 
pressed to him my conviction that he had a personal responsibility to 
me as the recognized leader of the largest group in the Democratic party 
[in Virginia]. 

Virginia Democrats at this time were classed by the press as belong- 
ing to the "Ring" or the "anti-Ring." Martin, Swanson, Flood, and 
Byrd were spoken of as leaders of the "Ring" with Mann, E. W. 
Saunders, Martin Williams, Rhea, and others as their supporters. Jones, 
Montague, Glass, Willard, Tucker, and Stuart were the "anti-Ring" 
leaders. While all these men claimed to be genuine Democrats, the re- 
lations between them were greatly strained, and they did not hesitate 
to denounce each other in very plain language. 

For ability as an organizer, for unusual common sense, and perhaps 
more unusual good political sense, for success in securing the respect 

9. Thomas Staples Martin (1847-1919) became active as a Democratic leader in the 
1880's. In 1893 he was elected to the U. S. Senate by the Virginia General Assembly, 
defeating Fitzhugh Lee, nephew of General R. E. Lee. He served in the Senate from 
the time he took his seat in 1895 until his death. He was usually regarded as the 
leader of the Democratic machine in Virginia. He became a close ally of the Anti- 
Saloon League. 

John Warwick Daniel (1842-1910) served as a major in the Confederate Army and 
as Virginia state senator (1 875-1 879). He was elected to Congress in 1884 and a year 
later to the Senate for the term beginning in 1887. He represented Virginia continuously 
until his death. His political method was by direct appeal to the masses on the principle 
of "white solidarity." He was never a part of the Democratic machine although as- 
sociated with it. He "spurned the powerful and politically inclined Anti-Saloon League. 


and the votes, not only of the people of Virginia but also the members of 
Congress, for clearness of vision, for driving power, for the ability to 
command intense loyalty from his friends and followers, I do not think 
that Thomas S. Martin had his equal in the political life of Virginia 
or in the Senate of the United States, certainly during the last ten or 
twelve years of his life. With all due respect to the many men whom I 
have met, both in Virginia and in national political life, Senator Martin 
towers above them all in my mind as a great floor leader of the Senate 
and as a man who, without the oratorical graces possessed by his col- 
league, Senator Daniel, was able to state plainly and clearly the issues 
involved in any matter before the Senate or on the hustings in Virginia 
with a positive vigor and sincerity rarely seen. My more intimate as- 
sociation with him will be mentioned later on. 

After the passage of the Mann Law I urged the calling of as many 
local-option elections as possible in the towns and cities of Virginia 
which were not affected by the Mann Law. I did not believe that it 
was wise to rush into a useless contest, but I did stress the great educa- 
tive value of a campaign before the people asking them to vote out the 
saloon, as it gave ample opportunity in the pulpit and on the platform 
and by pamphlets to state the real facts concerning the effects of the 
liquor traffic upon the life of the people. As a matter of fact, very few of 
the local-option elections held were lost, and good results followed these 
local campaigns. 

However, when the Anti-Saloon League Convention met in 1909, 
the Legislative Committee was unanimous in its opinion that the time 
had not yet come to enter upon a state-wide prohibition campaign, but 
that it was better to follow the local-option policy for another year at 
least. The whole matter became entangled with the political contest for 
the governorship. It was well known throughout the state that Senator 
William Hodges Mann had the full support of what was called "the 
Ring." His position on the liquor question was well-known. He favored 
the abolition of the legalized liquor traffic by a state-wide prohibitory 
law, but he did not think that the time had come to press for the state- 
wide law, but that for the present the local-option policy should be con- 
tinued until the sentiment of the state had been brought up to demand 
state-wide prohibition. . . . 

During the campaign for governor this year I had my first experience 
with the Honorable Carter Glass, 10 at that time congressman from the 

10. Carter Glass (1858-1946) was a member of the Virginia Senate (1899-1909) and 
Democratic Representative to Congress (1902-1918). He was appointed to the Senate 
by the governor of Virginia in 1920 after serving two years as Wilson's Secretary of the 
Treasury. He remained a senator until his death. 



Sixth District of Virginia, and owner of the Lynchburg News. Mr. 
Glass was for some months quite uncertain as to whether he would be 
a candidate for governor. He was urged by his friends of the "anti- 
Ring" faction to announce himself as a candidate subject to the vote in 
the Democratic primary. 

The Honorable William Hodges Mann, who had run in the primary 
in 1905, and had then received the largest number of votes next to 
Governor Swanson, had announced that he would be a candidate. It 
was generally understood that he would have the support of the "Ring" 
leaders. The Honorable Harry St. George Tucker, who had been a 
member of Congress from the Tenth District, and who was known as 
an "anti-Ring" candidate, and also as opposed to the policy of the Anti- 
Saloon League of Virginia, had announced himself as a candidate. 

Senator Mann had been the recognized leader of the dry people of 
Virginia in the General Assembly since 1902, when he introduced the 
Mann Bill, and later on when he sponsored other bills of lesser im- 
portance dealing with the liquor question and favorable to temperance. 
In the fight for the Byrd Bill [see p. 132], which was introduced 
by Speaker Byrd in the House of Delegates, Judge Mann, assisted 
especially by Senators Walker and Lincoln, led the fight for the passage 
of the Byrd Bill. 

At this time Dr. Charles D. Bulla, a prominent member of the Balti- 
more Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, a member 
of the Executive Committee of the Anti-Saloon League of Virginia, 
conferred with me as to the possible effect of the entrance of Congress- 
man Glass into the gubernatorial race. I had met Mr. Glass in three or 
four local-option elections in Lynchburg, where he lived, and he stated in 
his speeches in local option elections that he favored state-wide prohibi- 
tion. In December, 1908, he had made that statement in a speech in- 
troducing Governor Glenn of North Carolina to a Lynchburg audience. 

I told Dr. Bulla that a three-cornered race with two dry candidates 
and one wet candidate was always dangerous, and to be avoided if pos- 
sible. I expressed the view, however, that I doubted whether, if Mr. Glass 
and Mr. Tucker should both run, that either of them would secure the 
nomination, as both were representatives of the "anti-Ring" faction, and 
that in my judgment the "Ring" supporters outnumbered the "anti-Ring" 
supporters, as had been shown in the recent senatorial election between 
Martin and Montague. 

I stated also that, while there were a number of dry voters who 
supported the "anti-Ring" faction who might vote for Mr. Glass as an 
advocate of state-wide prohibition, I thought it likely that the large 


majority of the dry voters would support Governor Mann, who had 
borne the heat and burden of the day, and that these dry voters, added to 
the "Ring" supporters, would give him a majority. I did think, however, 
that it would be far better, should the issue be clear-cut as between Mann 
and Tucker without a third candidate in the field. 

Dr. Bulla stated that he would confer with Congressman Glass in 
Washington, emphasizing the danger of a triangular contest. This action 
was taken by Dr. Bulla. He did have a conference with Mr. Glass, and 
a few days later — on February 8 — Mr. Glass wrote a letter to Dr. Bulla 
which was given to the press. In that letter Mr. Glass referred to an 
interview which he had given to the Richmond newspapers in which 
he had declared: "While I have never proposed, and do not now desire 
to convert my belief into a political asset, I have no objection, and never 
have had any, to stating the fact that I am for state-wide prohibition." 

In his letter to Dr. Bulla Mr. Glass stated: 

While I have long co-operated in an inconspicuous way with the State 
Anti-Saloon League, contributing to its campaigns, and voting against the 
open saloon when I could, I cannot speak for it, nor assume to direct its poli- 
cies. I did not attempt to do this in my interview with the Richmond 

Mr. Glass further wrote to Dr. Bulla: 

That you may feel more certainly assured of this, I desire to say that it is 
not my present purpose to be a candidate for Governor, and I can foresee 
nothing ahead that is calculated to make me alter this determination. I have 
been urged by some devoted friends to withhold this announcement until 
after the meeting of the Anti-Saloon League in State Convention at Norfolk 
on Tuesday. I do not think the deliberations of that Convention on this! 
question should be had with reference to the political ambition of any 
man who may hope to become a candidate, or of any man who has avowed 
himself a candidate, and I am resolved that my proposed candidacy at least 
lLJI not be used for or against any action which the Convention may please 
to take; hence you are at liberty to make this letter public. 

From the statements made by Mr. Glass in the press and to Dr. 
Bulla, I did think that whether he so intended it or not, his statements 
were such as to have weight in the deliberation of the Norfolk Anti- 
Saloon League Convention. I did not see how he could have emphasized 
the state-wide prohibition policy more than he had done, and when the 
Anti-Saloon League Convention met, there were men in the convention 
who had been influenced by his statements. The report of the Legisla- 
tive Committee, however, was not influenced by the statements made by 
Mr. Glass. The recommendations of that report had been framed in 


accordance with the facts as the committee saw them. The committee 
was just as strongly in favor of state- wide prohibition as was Mr. Glass. 
But the committee knew that there was no possibility of securing state- 
wide prohibition by legislative enactment at that time, or of securing 
the right to vote on the question. It therefore recommended the con- 
tinuation of the local option, with an ultimate vote on state-wide pro- 

That night, after the reading of the report, which I requested should 
be laid on the table until the next morning for full opportunity for re- 
flection, I was called up over long distance telephone by Mr. Glass, to 
whom some friend or newspaper man had evidently telephoned the 
policy recommended. Mr. Glass was quite severe in his criticisms, using 
a vocabulary to which I was not accustomed. After the adjournment of 
the convention there followed a lengthy correspondence, which continued 
for some days. 

The liquor traffic and its paid advertising allies, the wet newspapers, 
had confidently expected the Anti-Saloon League to make the fatal 
blunder of preparing prematurely for the policy of state-wide prohibition, 
hoping thus to make prohibition the perplexing issue in the political 
campaign. When the League, however, declared for a continuation of 
the local-option policy for the present, the wet newspapers literally 
screamed with rage, denounced me as a tyrannical dictator with political 
aims and the Anti-Saloon League Convention as a set of puppets who 
had endorsed my views as embodied in the report of the committee, al- 
though they held directly contrary opinions. Senator Mann, at the same 
convention and on the same platform, emphasized the wisdom of the 
local-option policy adopted by the convention. This was seized upon as 
positive proof of a conspiracy between Senator Mann and myself. 

Although the wet press was solidly opposed to state-wide prohibition 
and knew that neither statutory prohibition nor an enabling act covH 
possibly be passed by the General Assembly, yet because the convention 
of 1909 refused to declare for state-wide prohibition, charges were made 
that an unholy alliance had been made between the Anti-Saloon League 
and the "Ring" faction of the Democratic party. 

The purpose of this charge was twofold: first, to try to persuade the 
people of the state at large that the Anti-Saloon League had swung from 
its prohibition aim into politics and had come under the domination of 
the "Ring" faction; second, to persuade the supporters of the Anti-Saloon 
League who favored the "anti-Ring" faction to denounce and desert the 
leadership of the Legislative Committee of the League, especially mine. 

These wet tactics produced much confusion at the time, but did not 


really deceive a great many dry people. The League propounded the 
same questions to all the candidates for governor, published their replies, 
and took no part whatever in the campaign, except to urge citizens to 
vote for the candidate who they believed would be most helpful to the 
prohibition cause. 

I myself took my own position openly and positively as an independ- 
ent citizen and voter. I declared that I would support Senator Mann 
because I considered him to be worthy and entirely capable of filling 
with ability and success the position of governor of Virginia, that he had 
been an earnest, uncompromising enemy of the liquor traffic, a recog- 
nized, outstanding dry leader throughout the state; moreover, that he 
was my close personal friend. I did not hesitate further to declare that 
the fact that he had the support of Martin, Swanson, Flood, Byrd, and 
other so-called "Ring" leaders, made no difference to me, that I was 
simply concerned with the election of a thoroughly dry man as governor 
of Virginia, and that I was glad that the dry candidate was my friend 
and worthy in every way of my support. 

Senator Mann was nominated in the primary by a good majority. It 
was declared by the wet press that he had the support of the Liquor 
Dealers' Association of Virginia on the pledge that the state-wide law 
would not be enacted during his term of office. I did not know and 
do not now know what understanding the liquor dealers may have had 
with some of the supporters of Judge Mann. I know that Judge Mann 
himself positively asserted that he was not a party to any agreement of 
that kind, and that if the General Assembly should pass any advanced 
prohibition legislation, he would sign the bill. As I knew him to be a 
truthful, Christian gentleman, I did not believe then and do not believe 
now that he would have made such statements had they not been 
absolutely true. 

During this period the Speaker of the House of Delegates of the 
General Assembly was Richard Evelyn Byrd. 11 He was a strong ad- 
mirer and earnest supporter of Senator Martin and was considered to 
be one of the outstanding representatives of the "Ring." He was one of 
the most brilliant men with whom I was associated for nearly twenty 
years of my prohibition activity. A genuine friendship grew up between 
us. While he did not approve of all my views, nor did I all of his, yet 
we respected each other's differences. 

11. Richard Evelyn Byrd (i 860-1925) was born in Austin, Texas, but moved to 
Virginia and was admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1884. He was a member of the Vir- 
ginia House of Delegates (1906-1914; speaker 1908-1914) and the U. S. district attorney 
in the western district of Virginia (1914-1920). He was the father of explorer Richard 
E. Byrd and Senator Harry F. Byrd. 


Greatly to the consternation and dismay of the liquor traffic, Speaker 
Byrd introduced a bill in the General Assembly which became known 
after its passage as the Byrd Law. We went over together, very carefully, 
all the provisions of the law, which was the first real effort to put in 
codified form in one bill all the existing legislation concerning the liquor 
traffic. The part of the bill which was fought most bitterly was the 
provision extending the prohibition feature of the Mann Law to all 
towns with a population of one thousand or less. It was different from 
the Mann Law, however, in that no provision was made for application 
for license or granting the same by a court. It was, in short, statutory 
prohibition for all the rural districts of Virginia and for all the villages 
and towns with a population of less than a thousand. 12 The Times-Dis- 
patch and its minor wet allies fumed and foamed, shrieking that the 
state was about to adopt the principle of statutory prohibition, but the 
people had witnessed the splendid effects of the Mann Law and spoke 
clearly and positively to their representatives in the General Assembly 
in favor of the Byrd Law. 

One of the features of the Byrd Law which excited the greatest 
antagonism was that which classified social clubs with all other places 
selling intoxicating liquor, requiring the granting of a license and the 
same regulations as to opening and closing hours. The Virginia gentle- 
men of the Westmoreland, Commonwealth, and other similar clubs 
fought that provision of the bill and vainly endeavored to get Speaker 
Byrd to exempt their clubs, but he was adamant. 

The bill passed both houses of the General Assembly under the 
leadership of Speaker Byrd, a man who was recognized as being very 
close to Senator Martin. I fully realized that the bill would not have 
been introduced and would not have passed had Senator Martin been 
unfavorable and had he used his influence against the measure. I 
became the more convinced that Senator Martin was, in fact, personally 
favorable to the abolition of the saloon, but that he was a wise, experi- 
enced politician as well as a statesman, and that he recognized that 
legislation could not be passed and carried out successfully if it was too 
far ahead of public sentiment. 

It was a great regret to me when Speaker Byrd decided to retire 
from the General Assembly. While a citizen of Winchester, he con- 
tinued to maintain an apartment in Richmond and I saw him frequently 

12. The bill was approved March 12, 1908. It was summarized as "to define and 
regulate the sale, distribution, . . . manufacture, and distilling of intoxicating liquors. . . ." 
Its provisions were much the same as the Mann Act (1903) although more sweeping. 
It prohibited the granting of licenses for manufacture or sale in towns of less than five 
hundred inhabitants {Acts of the Assembly, pp. 275 ff.). For modification of the social 
club provision, see ibid., 19 10 (March 15, 19 10), pp. 281 ff. 


and, as I valued his judgment very highly, consulted with him very 
freely concerning all the varied legislation which was enacted while I 
was superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League of Virginia. I hoped 
that at some time he would be governor of Virginia. I sincerely mourn 
what I considered his untimely death. 

During this same period I became intimately acquainted with a very 
unusual character, Colonel John P. Branch. He was a son of Thomas 
Branch, who was a staunch Methodist of the city of Petersburg and, if I 
mistake not, a member of the Virginia Convention strongly opposed to 
Secession, believing that a plan could be wrought out to free the Negroes 
by paying to their owners a fair valuation. The rash and precipitate 
action of South Carolina threw all plans for conservative, peaceful 
settlement into confusion and changed the whole situation. As a boy, 
while still living in Petersburg, Colonel John P. Branch was present 
and witnessed the organization of the First General Conference of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, held at Old Union Church, Peters- 
burg, Virginia in 1846. . . . 

After I began to have regular days in Richmond for my work on 
the Advocate, Colonel Branch would frequently call me up and ask me 
to come down to his office when I had spare time. I became a somewhat 
frequent visitor, oftentimes taking lunch with him, which he had sent 
into his office. He nearly always had his small glass of brandy or 
whiskey, I do not remember which. He told me on the first occasion, 
very gravely, that his physician had prescribed that amount for him 
with his meals. I made no comment, and we never referred to it from 
that day. 

I recall one quite unusual incident, I think about 1912 or 1913, when 
the fight for the enabling act was the topic of the hour. The Virginia 
Conference was in session in Richmond. Brother Branch invited a 
number of the most prominent men in the Conference to dine with the 
bishop. When we had gotten well started, Colonel Branch's butler 
brought him his usual portion of spirits, pouring it out of a full de- 
canter. Brother Branch, not thinking of the character of his guests, and 
frequently having a dinner company composed of high society folks, 
motioned to the butler to pass it around, which the butler did — with a 
grave face, but I am sure with an inward giggle. 

Preachers and laymen, who were in the forefront of the fight to abolish 
the liquor traffic, were suddenly interrupted in their meal by having 
a decanter of liquor thrust under their noses with a grave inquiry of 
whether they would have some. And when it finally reached me, my 
brother-in-law, R. H. Bennett, who was sitting directly opposite, could 


not suppress his amusement, but gave vent to a loud, hilarious chuckle. 
This did not stop the stately butler, who proceeded to ofler the fiery 
fluid to every man at the table, although before he finished, all who had 
already been approached had stopped eating and, with broad grins on 
their faces, were watching the reactions of the invitation to drink by 
the unsuspecting ones who had not observed what had been going on. 
Brother Branch, who was deep in conversation with the bishop sitting 
beside him, never noticed what was going on. I have often thought 
what a story some ungodly reporter could have made for the Richmond 
papers, had he been present on that occasion. 

At that time, Brother Branch was considered to be the richest man 
in Virginia, and worth about ten million dollars, which was a great deal 
of money in those days. He was a very sympathetic, kind-hearted man, 
and quite liberal in his gifts for what he considered to be worthy 
causes. . . . 

He took great interest in my activities and inquired how I was 
managing to carry on the finances of the college at Blackstone, the 
Christian Advocate, the Anti-Saloon League, and what provisions I 
was making for my own family, which then included several children 
approaching college age. I rarely talked freely with anyone about any 
financial matters except those of really public concern, but his interest in 
me was so genuine that I talked with him more freely about my per- 
sonal financial affairs than with almost any other man I ever met. 

He advised me to apply whatever funds I might have to the pur- 
chase of good stock, and I did buy cotton-mill, coal-mine, and similar 
stock. He then suggested that I buy railroad and industrial stock on a 
margin to be bought and sold for a profit. I had a lengthy discussion 
with him as to the ethics of the purchase of stocks and bonds on margin, 
and carefully and with some hesitation raised the question of gambling. 
He turned on me quite abruptly and said, "Do you think I am carrying 
on a gambling business? If you do, you should bring charges against 
me and have me put out of the church." And then he added, "And 
not against me only, but against thousands of men, who are members 
of our Methodist churches, many of them stewards and of the highest 
standing in their communities." 

I told him that I would have to think about it. I did think the 
matter over very thoroughly, and I became convinced then that trading 
in stocks which represented certain values was not different in any way 
from trading in timber stumpage, building lots, and anything else 
which was bought and sold to obtain a profit. Following this wise 
counsel of Brother Branch, I bought and sold a variety of stocks through 


the firm of Thomas Branch and Company. When Monument Avenue 
in Richmond was opened up, Brother Branch had secured a large num- 
ber of desirable lots. He offered to sell me some of the best at small 
profit to him with comparatively small cash payments, the balance to 
run one, two, three, and four years. 

I told him that I had no use for lots on Monument Avenue, that 
I would never want to build a home there, and if I did want to do so, 
I would never have the money to build one suitable for that neighbor- 
hood. He replied promptly that it was simply a matter of investment, 
that there was no question that the lots would rapidly increase in value 
and that by a small cash payment I would be able to hold them and could 
sell them at any time I desired before the heavier payments came due. 

Following this advice I did purchase some Monument Avenue lots 
from Brother Branch, and sold them later at a very good profit. They 
were bought on a margin exactly as I bought stocks, the lots themselves 
being security for balance due on them. 

Sometimes when I called on Brother Branch in his office, I met men 
of the business world and of the society group with whom I was not 
acquainted, such as Joseph Bryan, George Stevens, James H. Dooley, 
and others. They always treated me respectfully as one of Brother 
Branch's Methodist preachers, but I could always sense some surprise 
on their part that I was a comparatively pleasant, mild-mannered man 
and not a grim-faced ogre with proverbial horns, hoofs, and a tail, and 
a base conspirator with Dick Byrd to curtail the drinking privileges of 
Virginia gentlemen. 

The carrying on of these and other business transactions did not in 
any way minimize my activity in the work either of Blackstone College, 
the Advocate, or the Anti-Saloon League. They did give me a broader 
and better understanding of business life in general and the basic prin- 
ciples underlying trading between businessmen. Neither the college, nor 
the Advocate, nor the Southern Assembly, nor the Richmond Virginian 
could have been carried on and secured the results which I was laboring 
to secure, had business methods been ignored. 

Of course, the business part of all the various activities in which I was 
interested required thought, energy, and time. But I was not conscious 
then, nor do I believe that my readers or my hearers thought that 
my writing, my public speaking, or my regular Sunday preaching was 
lowered in tone, was less definite in its high aim, or less effective in 
producing desired results because I was obliged to administer purely 
business matters in order to secure those results. 

About this same time there arose the apparent necessity of spending 


more and more time riding on trains and steamboats, which gradually 
assumed such proportions that it had to be reckoned with in carrying on 
my work. I stuffed my bag with my letters, with papers, magazines, and 
books, and after some experience developed a plan which became a fixed 
habit. I always take, if possible, a front seat in the smoking car, where 
there is a seat in front of me on which to put my bag and rest my feet, 
and there I can give myself up to steady reading and writing, even less in- 
terruptedly than if I were home, or in either one of my Richmond offices 
with frequent callers and the always imperative telephone. As I do not 
smoke, few people have ever thought of looking for me in the smoking 
car, and on the front seat I get little of the smoke which drifts backward 
instead of forward. I think that fully half of my editorial writing and 
my numerous articles entitled "Leaves from My Note Book" have been 
written riding on trains or steamers. I rarely use bus service. It is 
impossible to be private and one cannot read at night. 

I learned one exceedingly valuable lesson in my college days, namely, 
the great importance of concentration upon any one subject while it 
was under consideration. That was always of incalculable value in the 
saving of time by never allowing different matters to divide my thinking 
at the same time. So in my reading and my writing I have learned to 
shut out everything except the subject directly before me until my work 
on that subject is completed. 

It may seem that I am placing undue emphasis on this point, but 
my definite decision in my early college days to become a Methodist 
preacher has never been abated in the slightest degree. After I left the 
pastorate, through all the years of my educational, editorial and general 
reform activities I preached as many sermons yearly as the average 
pastor, although during all these years I was carrying on important busi- 
ness operations with the full knowledge of the Church. And, as far as I 
know, I never engaged in any work which did not receive commenda- 
tion of official bodies of the Church. 

Virginia ( 1909-1 918) 

Following the Anti-Saloon League Convention in 1909 and the pri- 
mary election for the gubernatorial nomination between Mann and 
Tucker . . . , the wet newspapers became more and more abusive and 
slanderous. They did not simply attack prohibition legislation and the 
prohibition movement, but they deliberately attacked and misrepresented 
in every conceivable way the dry workers of Virginia. Most of them 
not only refused to give space to any corrections of glaring mistakes, 


but to any defense by individuals against attacks made upon them by 
these wet newspapers. It is true that the dry leaders had the regular 
Anti-Saloon League paper and that I had the Christian Advocate in which 
to answer these misrepresentations of abuse and slander, but it was not 
an intermittent attack. It was continuous, almost daily, the purpose being 
to compel their readers to believe in the truthfulness of their slanders by 
persistent reiteration. 

Finally, after several consultations with Brother J. Sidney Peters, 
my copartner in the Advocate, we called together in conference a num- 
ber of dry leaders to consider raising $100,000 to start a dry daily news- 
paper in Richmond. I told the group very frankly that without some 
medium of daily expression going out into the homes and touching the 
business life of the state I thought that a state-wide prohibitory law 
would be delayed for several years, and I then forecast what actually 
occurred, that we must have a daily dry newspaper in Richmond for 
at least ten years. 

By that time I had formed real friendships with a number of well- 
to-do men in Virginia. They were intensely interested in the abolition 
of the legalized liquor traffic, and were willing to contribute from a 
thousand to five thousand dollars each to establish the paper. I was en- 
couraged by the spirit of the first meeting and by the support which was 
given the project, but upon reflection I realized that to secure one hun- 
dred thousand dollars someone would be obliged to provide more than 
five thousand dollars. I also foresaw that in all probability one hundred 
thousand dollars would not meet the need, but that large supplementary 
amounts would be required. 

I went home and laid the whole matter before my wife. At that time 
I had accumulated sufficient money to build a home for my family with 
such comforts and surroundings as I desired them to have. I had 
decided that the time had come for me to resign as president of Black- 
stone Institute and to give myself entirely to the Advocate and social 
reform work. My wife and I had talked many times concerning the 
kind of home we wanted to have. We had seven living children, five 
boys and two girls, ranging in age from three to twenty. We had lost 
one beautiful boy, Paul, of two years of age, and a little girl who died 
within a few hours after birth. We were then both about forty-five years 
old and looked forward to many years in our own home with our 
children and later with our grandchildren about us. We were both really 
somewhat dismayed at the idea of postponing our plans and risking a 
large part of our resources in an enterprise which had little promise of 


financial success, even though it might seem necessary for the advance- 
ment of a great moral cause. 

The matter was not settled in a day or in a week. While I did not 
want to throw too great a responsibility upon my wife, yet I felt that I 
could not give up or postpone uncertainly or indefinitely the plans which 
we had agreed upon and which had been in our minds for some time 
past without her hearty approval. She reached her own decision without 
pressure from me. She had been deeply stirred by the various attacks 
which had been made upon me by the daily press during the previous 
ten years and was fully cognizant that their purpose was, if possible, to 
drive me out of the work which I was trying to do. Moreover, she was 
a clear-headed woman and took the long view. She thought that if the 
paper should be established, it would of necessity have to face bitter 
opposition from the wet press, that every effort would be made to drive 
it out of the field, and that probably more and more money would be 
required to maintain it successfully. She finally reached her decision 
and told me that she thought success of a great cause like prohibition 
was too important, not only to the other people of Virginia, but to our- 
selves [and] our own children, for any purely personal considerations to 
stand in the way. 

Thus we fairly faced the issue. It was our home or the Richmond 
Virginian, a dry daily paper for Virginia. We decided for the Richmond 
Virginian in 1909, and when at varying stages during the ten years it 
became necessary to find more money to maintain the paper and carry 
on the warfare in which we were engaged, there was no hesitation, but 
by far the greater part of the money which we had set aside, a total of 
nearly sixty-five thousand dollars, went into the paper, and in addition 
thousands of dollars were borrowed to maintain it until not only state- 
wide but nation-wide prohibition had been won. 

The above statement is due to my noble wife, for without her consent 
to forgo the plans for domestic comfort so dear to a woman's heart 
there would have never been any Richmond Virginian, and of course 
there would never have been the great work which it accomplished dur- 
ing its ten years. 

So the Richmond Virginian was established, and for the next nine 
years I had three offices in Richmond, the Advocate, the Virginian, and 
the Anti-Saloon League. We were fortunate in securing an unusually 
able managing editor and business manager in the person of Mr. Solon 
B. Woodfin, who had been for many years managing editor of the 
Times, later the Times-Dispatch, but from the very first we were handi- 
capped by our inability to secure membership in the Associated Press, 


and at that time there was no other well-developed news service. The 
objection to granting membership in the Associated Press was ostensibly 
that Richmond was not large enough to maintain two morning papers, 
although there had been two there for many years, and also doubt was 
expressed as to the financial backing, and therefore the permanence of 
the Virginian. 

There was no difficulty in securing ample local and state news, but 
as I read the Virginian and the Times-Dispatch day by day, I recognized 
that the Virginian without a national and international press service 
could not compete in news value with the Richmond or Norfolk papers. 
The fact that the paper was avowedly for prohibition and was established 
as a protest against the attitude and treatment of the other Richmond 
dailies did not make it popular with many of the largest advertisers in 
Richmond, who themselves did not favor prohibition and had no in- 
terest in promoting a newspaper which did. Moreover, these merchants 
realized that unless hundreds or thousands of people subscribed to the 
Virginian who were not then taking any daily paper it would be simply 
an added expense for them to advertise in two morning papers instead 
of one as heretofore. 

Under these adverse conditions, especially with such inadequate news 
service, the fact that the Virginian continued to carry on its work for 
ten years is striking evidence of the loyalty that thousands of subscribers 
felt for the great causes which the Virginian was founded to advocate 
and for which it did help to win decisive victories. Not the least of 
these was the ultimate driving out of the Bryan interests from 
the control of the Times-Dispatch, because of the repudiation of their 
policies by the people of Virginia. 

In January, 1910, Senator John W. Daniel died, and within a reason- 
able time Governor Mann appointed Congressman Claude Augustus 
Swanson to succeed him in the United States Senate. While Governor 
Mann had the matter under consideration, some friends of mine, with- 
out any consultation with me, however, urged Governor Mann to 
appoint me to the vacancy. When I heard of this, I at once wrote to 
Governor Mann, disclaiming any knowledge of the action taken by my 
friends, or any desire whatever on my part for any public office, stating 
also that the only reason whatever which might cause me to desire to 
have him to make such an appointment would be to give me the op- 
portunity to refuse it, and thus put a stop forever to any intimation that 
I had any political ambitions. . . . 

The wet newspapers, having learned that my friends had approached 
Governor Mann, tried to make capital of the matter, but Governor Mann 


himself stated that my friends had said to him that they had come with- 
out my knowledge and, they felt sure, contrary to my wishes; so the 
attack produced small effect. 

In the primary then held for the nomination of a new senator, the 
candidates were Senator Swanson and Congressman Glass. It was a 
clear-cut conflict between the "Ring" and "anti-Ring" forces, similar to 
the one which had been fought previously by ex-Governor Montague 
and Senator Martin. The Anti-Saloon League queried both Swanson 
and Glass as to their position relative to prohibition legislation pending 
in Congress and the reply of both being satisfactory, the League took no 
part in the contest. 

Personally, I was an open, positive advocate of the election of Senator 
Swanson. My experience in 1909 with Congressman Glass had caused 
me to consider him to be a man of too strong and violent prejudices to 
be elected senator. Moreover, my personal relations with Senator Swan- 
son had been quite intimate while we were students at Randolph-Macon 
College, and we had maintained our friendship down through the 
years. . . . 

Of course the wet newspapers, while not coming out strongly in op- 
position to Senator Swanson, emphasized that I was supporting him 
because he was a "Ring" man, and that Glass was recognized as a much 
dryer man than Swanson. Congressman Glass conducted an intensely 
personal, denunciatory, even vituperative campaign. He not only at- 
tacked Senator Swanson's record in Congress, but he attacked him per- 
sonally. By that time I had begun to understand the people of Virginia 
fairly well, and I predicted the nomination of Swanson by a good ma- 
jority, which prediction was fulfilled. I do not think the majority would 
have been as large but for the character of Mr. Glass's campaign, as is 
indicated by some quotations from the daily press. 

The Richmond News Leader of April 1, 191 1, reports: 
Carter Glass of Lynchburg opened his campaign for the United States 
Senate at the Academy of Music last night with sweeping and wholesale 
denunciations of the trickery and tyranny of the Democratic machine in the 
state. In the course of his remarks Congressman Glass alluded with some 
heat to an unholy alliance between the preachers and the barkeepers in the 
last gubernatorial election, a combination in which Jim Trehy, of Norfolk, 
and James Cannon, of Richmond, lined up certain barkeepers and preachers 
cheek by jowl to cast their ballots together for the same candidate. . . . 

Later on the Times-Dispatch of September 5, 191 1, reports Congress- 
man Glass as saying in a speech at the Jefferson Hotel: "He can't tell 
the truth about anything," and as further stating that in the early Demo- 
cratic primary in Franklin County three hundred and fifty Republicans 


were voted so that they would be in a position "to help Claude out." 

In a speech the same night at Liberty Hall, Richmond, he declared 
that in the last primary election "the graves were robbed for votes. To- 
day the executive robes smell of the musk of the tomb. Nobody will 
ever know who was elected, Mann or Tucker." These words the Times- 
Dispatch reports Congressman Glass used time after time with sarcasm. 
He declared that his opponent, Senator Swanson, had been associated 
with the Republican thieves, Machen and Beavers, who were sent to 
the penitentiary. Glass further declared in the same speech: "I am told 
certain temperance leaders are for him. Well, the liquor dealers helped 
the temperance people to elect their Governor. It looks like the temper- 
ance people are going now to help the liquor dealers elect their candidate 
for the Senate and thus help Claude out." 

In one of his campaign speeches Congressman Glass stated that he was 
once informed by Senator Martin that Senator Daniel had told him that 
he (Daniel) charged Swanson to his face of being guilty of betraying 
his friends. Senator Swanson in a statement given to the press declared 
that the derogatory and abusive statements by Glass concerning him 
were false, and published a telegram from Senator Martin, as follows: 

"I made no such statement to Glass. Daniel never made it to me. 
You have my full authority to deny it as you think it should be denied 
for me." 

This flat contradiction by Senator Martin was very hurtful to Con- 
gressman Glass. 

The above quotations indicate the resentment and anger of Congress- 
man Glass toward me because of my openly declared determination to 
support my friend, Senator Swanson, as against my hot-headed corre- 
spondent of 1909, Congressman Glass. 

The result of this abusive, vituperative, vindictive campaign was the 
repudiation of Congressman Glass by the people of Virginia by a vote 
of [approximately twenty thousand] for Glass to [fifty thousand] for 
Swanson. Had he not made any campaign at all Congressman Glass 
would have received a larger proportionate vote, for he showed himself 
to be utterly unable to carry on a political platform campaign without 
descending to abusive, vituperative personal attacks upon his opponent. 
The spirit manifested in this campaign has been characteristic of him 
throughout his public career. Fortunately for him, he has never, since 
191 1, been called upon to make a contest on the platform for election to 
the senatorship, having been appointed to that office by Governor Davis 
upon the death of Senator Martin, and never having had any organized 
opposition for re-election. In the national campaign of 1928, however, 



when he campaigned the state for the election of Governor Smith, he 
manifestly followed the same spirit and method, indulging in abuse and 
vilification, some of it proved to be false, which his vindictive spirit, 
however, would not permit him to withdraw. 

In this same year, 191 1, the Anti-Saloon League Convention was held 
at Newport News. The report of the Legislative Committee laid great 
emphasis upon the part which the wet newspapers were playing in the 
battle against the effort of the League to secure state-wide prohibition. 
They were characterized in their proper light as the most potent ally 
of the liquor traffic. The following paragraph is from the Legislative 
Report of 191 1 : 

In this warfare the most potent ally of the traffic is the wet press. These 
wet papers in their news and editorial columns minimize the evils of the 
saloon and emphasize the violation of the law in dry territory, not in order 
to insist upon the punishment of the offenders, but to persuade the people 
that it is folly to expect the liquor traffic to keep the law, and therefore it 
should be given license to set traps for our children and to accomplish their 
ruin. In their advertising columns they print fake statements concerning 
the helpful (?) effects obtained by the use of certain brands of intoxicants 
and sell their space to circulate statements which are false and sometimes 
slanderous and to inform persons where they can obtain intoxicants over 
the bar, and from whom they can order it to be shipped into dry territory. 
They are the purchased allies of the dramseller, the drummers for the trade, 
and we believe that the owners of such papers, and all those who derive 
profit from this source are equally as responsible in the sight of Almighty 
God as those who sell the liquor to the men who have been informed by the 
newspapers for pay where the liquors can be obtained. Some of these 
papers carry yard after yard of these advertisements in their news and 
editorial columns "sacrificed to their net, and burn incense to their drag, be- 
cause by them their portion is fat and their meat plenteous." It is difficult 
to estimate the effect produced upon the average reader by the constant 
repetition of misrepresentation of conditions by the wet press. 

This just classification of the wet newspapers as in the same class 
with the saloonkeepers, bartenders, brewers, and distillers was followed 
literally by howls of rage in the sanctums of those papers. I was espe- 
cially branded as a villain, responsible for such insulting characterization. 
It was declared that I did not properly represent the Church in this 
matter. The climax was reached by the publication of an editorial in 
the Times-Dispatch which had assumed for itself the title of "Supreme 
in Virginia". . . . 

As an aftermath to this bitter attack, at the next session of the Vir- 
ginia Conference, November, 191 1, the Committee on Temperance 



brought in a report in which the same paragraph characterizing the wet 
newspapers was contained. This report was adopted by a rising vote 
of the Conference, none voting in the negative, thus obliterating abso- 
lutely the statements of the wet press that I did not represent the views 
of the great Virginia Conference. Indeed, if possible, to give emphasis 
to the support of the Conference in resolutions concerning my election 
as superintendent of the Southern Assembly, the Conference said: 

We congratulate the Southern Assembly upon securing such an able, 
progressive and untiring man to inaugurate so great an enterprise. 

We desire to express our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude of the 
great work Dr. Cannon has done in our Conference. No member of our 
body, useful as many of them have been, has done work which has meant 
more to the great causes of Christian education and of Temperance reform 
than he has. 

The Conference was held in my own town of Salisbury, Maryland, 
among the people of whom my father and mother had been the leaders 
for so many years, and two beautiful stained glass windows in memory 
of them faced the daily sessions of the Conference. I have never en- 
joyed any Conference as much, surrounded as I was by many friends of 
my parents, and in a lesser degree of myself, and supported by the 
Conference against the most vicious form of hostile criticism. I trust 
I may be pardoned for inserting at this point a statement made by Dr. 
John Hannon in his report of the Conference proceedings: "Our Dr. 
James Cannon was on his native heath and at his best. Brave, true, 
simple-hearted, planning great things and doing great things for the 
Church. Thank God for his masterly sermon on Sanctification." 

When the General Assembly of Virginia met in the winter of 1912, 
as the result of the splendid work which had been done by the Anti- 
Saloon League, and its effective ally, the Richmond Virginian, a large 
majority of the House of Delegates had been elected positively committed 
to the passage of the enabling act, giving to the people of Virginia the 
right to vote on a state-wide prohibition law. 13 The enabling act was 
passed in the House of Delegates by a sweeping majority. When it 
reached the Senate, although it was clear that the House of Delegates 
represented the views of the people, it was held unnecessarily in com- 
mittees until near the end of the session. It fell to my lot to make the 

13. The enabling act was "A House Bill to provide for the calling and holding of 
an election upon the question of prohibiting the manufacture for sale and the sale of 
intoxicating liquors, and to declare the effect of the result of such election; and to provide 
penalties for the violation of the provisions of this act" {journal of the House of Delegates 
of the State of Virginia for the Session of 1914, p. 134). For final text of the measure 
approved Feb. 18, 1914, see Acts . . . of the General Assembly. . . , 1914, pp. 20 ff. 

i 4 4 


closing argument before the Senate Committee in favor of the passage 
of the bill. I emphasized: 14 

First. [That to allow the people to vote] is sound Democratic doctrine. 
One of the speakers has declared that he is a Democrat and favored local 
option because that is the platform of the Democratic party. It would be 
interesting to hear this gentleman attempt to reconcile the present prohibi- 
tory liquor legislation of Virginia with local option. The Mann Law and 
the Byrd Law were both passed by Democratic legislatures and signed by 
Democratic governors. . . . These measures were bitterly fought by the 
same gentlemen who are now fighting the enabling act. . . , and yet their 
protests went unheeded. . . . The Democratic party has by its action de- 
clared that the liquor question is a matter of expediency, and must be 
settled in accordance with the prevailing conditions. 

I quoted at this point with great effect a statement from a letter 
written by Governor Woodrow Wilson to Mr. E. W. Grogan 15 of Texas, 
a copy of which Governor Wilson had sent me only a few days before. 
In this letter Governor Wilson declared: "I believe that in some 
states, state-wide prohibition is possible and desirable because of their 
relative homogeneity, while for others I think state-wide prohibition 
is not practical. I have no reason to doubt from what I know of the 
circumstances that state-wide prohibition is both practicable and de- 
sirable in Texas." 

Here Governor Wilson, while not declaring himself to be a pro- 
hibitionist, did declare that state-wide prohibition was both practicable 
and desirable in the state of Texas, and certainly does not intimate that 
prohibition is not a sound Democratic doctrine. 

Second. The bill should be passed because of the great number of persons 
petitioning for its passage insisting that they be given an opportunity to record 
their votes on the question of state-wide prohibition. 

Third. The bill should be passed because of the standing and character 
of the persons asking for this legislation. The Baltimore, the Holston, and 
the Virginia Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
the Baptist General Association of Virginia — these bodies representing the 
overwhelming majority of the Protestant denominations in this state; the 
Farmers' Cooperative Union — all these and many others are calling upon the 

14. The original of the autobiography is inconsistent here. All of the following testi- 
mony was apparently supposed to be a direct quotation, but the wording was sub- 
stantially changed from the original as recorded in the Richmond Virginian. In editing 
the manuscript, therefore, the part of the testimony that is almost the same as the 
recorded testimony has been altered to conform exactly with a typed copy of the testi- 
mony taken from the Richmond Virginian and filed in the Cannon manuscripts. Matter 
that has been paraphrased is enclosed in brackets. 

15. In the original of the testimony, this name is given as Mr. E. B. Byars. 


Senate of Virginia to pass this bill which has already passed the House of 
Delegates by a majority of two to one. 

I frankly admitted that there were people "of high social standing 
and of excellent moral character" who were opposed to the passage 
of this bill, "but in all kindness and in all due deference to these gentle- 
men it must be asserted that they are in very bad company," for 
every saloon and every dive, the gambling hells, the red light districts, the 
toughs, the profligates, and all the criminal classes are bitterly opposed to the 
passage of the bill. . . . Shall not the Senate of Virginia consider the facts 
that the criminal elements of the state are all joined together against this 
bill. ... In its editorial of February 26, the News Leader "called upon the 
Senate of Virginia to stand firm against this combination of the Puritan, 
the weaklings and blacklegs." Are they the Methodist and Baptist preachers 
and laymen? Are they the educators, preachers and laymen who appeared 
before the Committee of the House of Delegates? In which class are Dr. 
Young, Dr. Pitt, Dr. Welford and Dr. McDaniel, outstanding ministers 
of Virginia? To which class belong Speaker Byrd, Captain Baker, Mr. 
Bowman, Captain lennings and other leading members of the House of 
Delegates; or Senators Walker, Saunders, West and Mapp? Is it not ridicu- 
lous for this Bryan sheet with its record to call upon the Senate of Virginia 
to do its duty? 

The Richmond Virginian, in its report of the meeting, declared: 

. . . the closing feature of Dr. Cannon's speech was an emphatic and con- 
vincing defense of the motives of the men who were the field workers of 
the Anti-Saloon League in the fight against the liquor traffic of Virginia, 
who had been slandered by a member of the House of Delegates as ministers 
compelled to quit the pulpit in order to make a living. Dr. Cannon declared 
that the four men who were paid officials of the Anti-Saloon League in its 
work had been urged by him and the Headquarters Committee of the 
League to leave charges paying good salaries to take up this work, and there 
was not one but could return to the pulpit at a larger salary than the Anti- 
Saloon League could afford to pay. 

Dr. Cannon declared that as for himself he had never yet accepted one 
dollar for any service that he had performed for the Anti-Saloon League of 
Virginia. He emphasized that any accusation by any newspaper or in- 
dividual that he was working in the temperance cause for political motives 
was absolutely and unqualifiedly false. 

At that point of his address he read a letter received that day from 
Governor Mann in response to a request for a copy of a letter written to 
Governor Mann shortly after his nomination for governor in 1909. Governor 
Mann's letter stated that he had received a letter from Dr. Cannon after his 
nomination for governor in which Dr. Cannon stated that he did not pro- 
pose to recommend any applicants for office, that his fight in the state was 
for a moral issue, and that he had already absolutely refused to recommend 


a number of people who had applied to him. Governor Mann further stated 
that Dr. Cannon had made but one recommendation to him for appointment 
and that was on moral grounds. 

After reading this letter I concluded my address with the statement: 

I have read this letter [from Governor Mann] because I have been ac- 
cused [by the wet press and the liquor traffic generally] of using my in- 
fluence as a temperance worker for political purposes, when as a matter 
of fact I have absolutely refused to recommend personal friends for office . . . 
because I did not desire to compromise myself in the slightest degree in 
purely political matters lest my efficiency as a worker in the field of moral 
reform be impaired. 

Gentlemen, my hatred of the liquor traffic began at the time when, as 
a boy, I went with my good mother in her carriage as she ministered to 
the poor of the community, whose lives had been made miserable by the 
curse of strong drink. When my mother died and she lay in her coffin, the 
little badge of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union was the only 
ornament on her dress. As I looked down upon it and thought how she 
had worked against the traffic, and had tried to relieve its awful results, I 
made a solemn pledge that by the help of God, I would do all in my power 
to destroy it. And all the abuse and slander and vilification which can be 
heaped upon me by persons or papers, will not move me from the work. 

Gentlemen of the Committee, we ask you for a favorable report upon 
the bill. Give the people of Virginia the right to decide for themselves 
whether intoxicating liquors shall be sold in Virginia. 

On January 25, 1912, I had written to Senator Thomas S. Martin, 
asking for his support of a resolution to protect Virginia dry territory 
from interstate liquor shipments. Senator Martin made prompt reply 
and declared: 

I am in full accord with the purpose of the resolution and will do 
everything in my power to secure legislation that will prevent the exercise of 
any National power under the Interstate Commerce clause of the Constitution 
so as to prevent the state of Virginia from controlling as it may see fit the 
question of bringing liquor from another state into dry territory in Vir- 
ginia. I believe the state should be supreme in the matter, and if I can 
secure legislation to that effect it will be a pleasure for me to do so. I do 
not believe the Revenue Department of the National Government should 
issue any license authorizing the sale of liquor in territory where Virginia 
forbids it. I can assure you that everything I can do in respect to the matter 

wil1 be done - Yours very truly, 

Thomas S. Martin 

Encouraged by this positive attitude expressed by Senator Martin, 
on February 23 I wrote Senator Martin a somewhat lengthy letter em- 


phasizing what I believed to be his responsibilty in reference to the 
passage of the enabling act then before the Senate of Virginia. As 
this letter is quite important from more than one angle, I am quoting 
portions of it for purposes of record. 

Richmond, Va., Feb. 23, 191 2 

Hon. Thomas S. Martin 

Senate Building, Washington, D. C. 

Dear Senator Martin: 

I received your message that you certainly would not take any part in the 
matter of the enabling act, that I could be satisfied on that point. Of course, 
looked at from one viewpoint that would be quite satisfactory, as I am con- 
vinced that if you were to take a position against the bill it would be fatal 
to its chances for success. But looked at from another standpoint that as- 
surance is not quite so satisfactory. Certainly if I have any powers of discern- 
ment, the passage or defeat of the enabling act by the Democratic Senate will 
have more bearing upon the interests of the Democratic party of Virginia 
during the next two years than any other question before the people at the 
present time. The defeat of the enabling act in the Senate by the votes of 
senators who are known to be in close touch with the Democratic adminis- 
tration will arouse such resentment that it will be impossible to prevent 
decided actions on the part of a large number of voters who have been willing 
up to the present time to believe that the Administration wing of the Demo- 
cratic party is willing to treat the temperance people fairly. The temperance 
people throughout the state believe that the Democratic Organization can settle 
this matter if it desires to do so, and at our recent Convention, where men 
were in attendance from every part of Virginia, there was a most decided 
unequivocal expression of determination to hold the Democratic administra- 
tion responsible for the defeat of the bill should it be defeated. I am not 
discussing the justice of this view now, but I am simply stating a fact to be 
reckoned with. . . . There are a number of us who have not hesitated to 
openly support candidates favored by the present Democratic Organization, 
not because we have ever made any bargain so to do as has been falsely 
asserted by our enemies, but which you \now to be absolutely false, but be- 
cause we thought that the present organization was equally as good as those 
who were aiming to come into power. But those temperance people who have 
been supporting the organization feel that they should be given a reasonable 
amount of support which they ask, and if they do not receive it they will be 
placed in a position where they can no longer defend the Organization against 
the attacks of those who urge that the Democratic Organization is unwilling 
to do anything that will antagonize the whis\ey element in the cities. If 
the enabling act is passed it must be passed by the vote of Organization 
senators, and if it can be honestly said that the Organization has been favor- 
able to the passage of the act it will give to many of us who feel kindly 


toward the Organization an opportunity to defend it during the coming 
years. . . . 

I am writing you the above as a well-wisher, as one who has supported 
you in the face of a great deal of unjust personal criticism and abuse of myself 
at the hands of the wet newspapers because I have believed that you were 
during both campaigns the better qualified man of the two. But if the ena- 
bling act is defeated by the vote of the Organization senators from the Fourth, 
Eighth and Tenth Districts, the senators of all which districts ought to vote 
for the bill, as their constituents are represented by dry members in the House 
of Delegates, what other conclusion can be reached but that if these Organiza- 
tion senators vote against the enabling act, and insist upon protecting the 
liquor interests, then a clearly moral issue has been raised. How then can 
men, who like myself, believe that a moral question is more important than 
purely political questions, be expected to support the Organization should 
this moral issue be defeated by the vote of Organization senators? In saying 
this I am simply stating the conviction not only of myself, but of thousands 
of other persons who will not be able to reach any other conclusion but that 
the Organization, through its representatives in the State Senate, is protecting 
the liquor traffic, and is preventing the people from having a chance to 
destroy the traffic in a fair and open fight. 

Is it not the part of wisdom, therefore, for the Democratic Organization 
to bestir itself, aye, to use every possible effort to take this moral question out 
of the realm of party politics? Does not the vote in the House of Delegates 
last night prove that if the Senate defeats this bill the next two years will 
witness the most bitter fight the state has ever known? Every man must 
decide for himself what is his duty, but it does seem to me that as the leader 
of the Democratic party in Virginia in the Senate of the United States your 
interest in the Democratic party would demand that you see to it that the 
liquor question be removed from the political field. 

I am sending copies of this letter to Senator Swanson and Congressman 
Flood. I cannot stress too strongly to you gentlemen the general feeling 
throughout the state that you three gentlemen, representing the Organization, 
can determine this question. 

This is the most important statement I have ever made to the leaders of 
the Democratic Organization. I have met my responsibility and delivered 
my soul. They can now meet theirs in whatever way seems best to them. 

Yours sincerely, 

James Cannon, Jr. 

The above letter was mailed on the noon train to Washington, special 
delivery. After it was mailed, I received a telegram calling me to Wash- 
ington for a conference on the Webb-Kenyon Bill, which we were then 
getting in shape to present to Congress. 16 After meeting with the com- 

16. The Webb-Kenyon Act was passed by Congress over Taft's veto on March i, 1913. 
It was the first important federal victory for the Anti-Saloon League. Its purpose was to 


mittee, I received a telephone call from Senator Martin, who stated he 
had received my letter and had learned that I had come to Washington 
that day for a conference on the Webb-Kenyon Bill, and that he and 
Senator Swanson would be glad to see me that night. I met the two 
senators in Senator Martin's office, and discussed with them fully and 
freely the contents of my letter which they had received that afternoon. 
I laid special emphasis on the fact that the temperance leaders had 
been abused and vilified on the ground that the Democratic Organiza- 
tion had made a bargain with the Anti-Saloon League to support Judge 
Mann for governor with the understanding that no additional liquor 
legislation would be passed during his administration. 

I emphasized the statement made in my letter that such a bargain 
had never been made, and that they knew the accusation to be absolutely 
false; that if any bargain had been made by the administration leaders, 
the Anti-Saloon League knew nothing of it and would never have 
agreed to be a party to any such agreement. I insisted, however, that 
the present situation seemed to give color to the accusation of a bargain 
between the Democratic Organization and the liquor dealers, and that 
it was difficult, in view of the facts we confronted, to prevent our 
temperance people from believing that the Organization senators from 
the Fourth, Eighth, and Tenth Districts were opposing the enabling 
act under orders from the Organization. 

Senator Martin made prompt, candid reply, with which Senator 
Swanson agreed. Both of them stated positively that they were taking 
no part in the fight for or against the enabling act, that they had no 
objection whatever to its passage, but they stated that some of the [state] 
senators from the districts I have mentioned had given pledges to vote 
against the bill, and they could not insist that those senators violate 
their pledges. I was satisfied that Senator Martin personally really 
favored the passage of the enabling act, and that Senator Swanson was 
not really opposed to it, but that both of them felt under the circum- 
stances they could do nothing more than to keep hands off. I did not 
agree with them and told them so, and that night after getting back to 
my office in Washington, I wrote the following note: 

Washington, D. C, Feb. 23, 1912 

Hon. Thomas S. Martin 
Senate Chamber 
Dear Mr. Martin: 

I have gone over very carefully in my mind our interview tonight. I 

prohibit the shipment of intoxicating liquors into any state, territory, or district where 
the sale of liquor was illegal (U. S. Statutes at Large, XXXVII, Pt. i, p. 699). 



have read over my letter sent you today and can only repeat in all honesty 
and sincerity what I said in that letter: "I have met my responsibility and 
delivered my soul. They (the leaders of the Democratic Organization) can 
now meet theirs in whatever way seems best to them." 

Hastily and sincerely, 

James Cannon, Jr. 

The above letters are given to indicate my actual relations with the 
Democratic Organization, the leader of which was generally recognized 
as Senator Martin, with Swanson, Flood, and Byrd as his able lieuten- 
ants. I honestly believed that Senator Martin was as able a leader of 
the political life of Virginia as could be found. I knew that he and his 
friends throughout the state had far more influence than any other 
political group. Without their support I knew that it would be ex- 
ceedingly difficult to secure a state-wide prohibition law and the statutes 
necessary for proper enforcement. 

I made no apologies then nor since for the position which I took, 
but I never at any time made any bargain with the so-called "Ring" 
concerning the passage of prohibition laws. The letters quoted above 
show there was no bargain, that I did not hesitate to express my belief 
in the real responsibility of the leaders for the defeat of the enabling 

When the vote was taken in the Senate it was defeated, sixteen for, 
twenty-four against. Following up my letters to Senators Martin and 
Swanson and Congressman Flood, I gave editorial expression to exactly 
the same position. After the vote was taken, I wrote an editorial en- 
titled "What Do the Leaders Say?" 

The most disgraceful record for twenty-five years was placed on the 
Journal of the Senate of 19 12. The people should find out who is respon- 
sible and what influences were exerted to bring about the result. The 
Democratic party is dominant in Virginia. Is it willing, as a party, to be 
held responsible for the record made by the Senate of 1912? Do the leaders 
of that party propose to allow the "wet" cities of Virginia to defeat all 
moral legislation? If not, let the party and its leaders repudiate it, then the 
moral sentiment of Virginia will repudiate the leaders, and if the party 
organization, as an organization, should stand for the record of 1912, then 
the moral sentiment of Virginia would repudiate that party organization. 
It might as well be understood now, at the open grave of the session of 
1912, that any attempt to make the record of the Senate of 1912 the record 
of the Democracy of Virginia will not be tolerated by the people. They 
will not agree that Democracy shall be made synonymous with the pro- 
tection of saloons, gambling, fraudulent registration, etc. The parting of 
the ways has been reached in this matter, and if the party leaders and the 


party organizations do not repudiate the record of 1912, then there are 
many thousands of voters who will certainly repudiate both the leaders and 
the organization, and they will do so for the good of the Democratic party 
and the State of Virginia. Moral issues are supreme, and party policy must 
conform to aroused moral sentiment, or the framers of the party policy 
will go down in defeat, and the new man will be selected who will conform 
the party policy to moral sentiment. 

The disgraceful record of the Senate of Virginia of 1912 has been made. 
The question today is, Will the leaders of the Democratic party endorse 
or repudiate that record? And let no man who aspires to be the leader 
of the party think that the Christian citizenship of Virginia will allow him 
to escape giving a reply to that question. Do they approve it, or do they 
repudiate it? Do they stand by the House of Delegates or by the Senate? 
Yes or No? . . . 

Concerning this spectacular fight in the General Assembly, Dr. R. 
H. Pitt declared in the Religious Herald: 

Speaking for the friends of the measure, who are not officially con- 
nected with the Anti-Saloon League, and especially for ourselves, we desire 
to express the highest and most grateful appreciation of the labor and sacri- 
fice, of the courage, energy and resourcefulness of the leaders of the League, 
and especially to Dr. James Cannon, Jr., who without price has remained in 
Richmond in this interest to the neglect of his own private affairs for 
weeks at a time. He has endured untold reproach and abuse, but has never 
faltered. We hold no brief for him, but we write this simple and sincere 
tribute to him and to his leadership as a plain matter of ordinary justice. 

This defeat was a great disappointment to the dry people through- 
out the state, but I was neither surprised nor discouraged, and began 
to plan at once for the next two years. 

First and foremost the financial condition of the Richmond Virginian, 
demanded prompt attention. The first hundred thousand dollars enabled 
us to put the paper on its feet, to make it known throughout the state, 
and to indicate what a tremendous value it was to our cause to have such 
a voice speaking daily for moral reform. The legislature adjourned 
at noon on Saturday, and within two hours the Reverend J. Sidney 
Peters and I were on the way to Lancaster County to see Colonel W. 
McD. Lee and Mr. Joseph F. Bellows, one of the outstanding laymen 
of our Church, a strong advocate of prohibition and a man of great 
liberality toward any cause in which he believed. We reached the 
home of Brother Bellows in time for supper Saturday night, and after 
supper discussed fully the prohibition situation throughout the state, 
the continued need for the Richmond Virginian for at least four years 
longer, and the present financial situation of the Virginian. 


Brother Bellows was a good listener, but himself a man of few 
words. At the end of our conference he said that he would give 
twenty-five thousand dollars of the next hundred thousand which we 
needed, and that he would not wait until the other subscriptions were 
secured, as he recognized the need of ready money at once. He said in 
tones which I shall never forget: "Brother Cannon, I thank you that 
you had confidence enough in me to ride all the way down here to ask 
for my help. It is a compliment and a privilege." He was one of the 
most liberal men I have ever known. His gift saved the Richmond 
Virginian and enabled it to continue for eight years longer, for with 
such a springboard I called together a meeting of my friends and was 
able to secure very shortly the balance of the hundred thousand dollars 
needed at that time. William C. Ivey of Lynchburg, S. P. Jones of 
Richmond, James H. Gray of Petersburg, J. W. Hough of Norfolk, 
W. H. Vincent of Capron were the largest subscribers, with other 
smaller amounts from R. S. Barbour of South Boston, P. D. Camp of 
Franklin, George P. Adams of Blackstone, Dr. E. H. Rawlings of 
Nashville, and a number of preachers of various denominations. 

In asking for this additional hundred thousand dollars, I did not 
hold out to any man the hope of financial profit. I emphasized the 
prohibition cause, the necessity for the maintenance of the Virginian 
for the success of that cause, and the probability, unless conditions 
changed, [that] the money invested would be invested for the sake 
of the cause with little or no hope of any return of principal or interest. 

I think I should emphasize at this point the intense devotion of the 
Reverend J. Sidney Peters to the prohibition cause. His mother was 
for many years the president of the Woman's Christian Temperance 
Union of Virginia, and laid the foundation for the splendid state or- 
ganization which has existed in this state until this present time. While 
not a man of large means, he made great sacrifices to assist in the 
founding of the Richmond Virginian and in its maintenance. His 
subscriptions all-told amounted to approximately $25,000. He gave time 
and counsel during the entire life of the Virginian which were of in- 
calculable value. . . . 

When the General Assembly of Virginia met for the session of 1914, 
there was a greater majority for the passage of the enabling act than in 
1912. I had been assured of the active support of Senator Martin for 
the passage of the bill. Governor Stuart had pledged himself to sign the 
bill, should it be passed by the legislature. While I missed Speaker Byrd 
very greatly, yet the new Speaker of the House, while not himself a 
prohibitionist, was fair in his appointment of committees and in the 


handling of prohibition legislation. The House passed the bill on 
[January 22] 1914, by a vote of [75 to 19]. 

The Senate, however, was so evenly divided, owing to the large 
representation of the cities, that it was not easy to hurry the passage of 
the bill. There was little which could be said in addition to what had 
already been said in 1912. The situation resolved itself into a question 
of tactics and pressure applied to wavering senators. 

During that campaign the Anti-Saloon League had its executive 
office in Murphy's Hotel. When I asked to rent an office and bedroom, 
Colonel Murphy very courteously let me have his own private office, 
suitably furnished for our need, and from that office I conducted the 
campaign for the passage of the enabling act. 

The hotelkeepers of the state appointed a committee, headed by 
Colonel Murphy, to consult with me to secure some provision in the 
act which would give them privileges to sell to bona fide guests. The 
paper was sent to me numerously signed, but no committee waited 
upon me. Instead they went to see my friend, Colonel John P. Branch, 
and asked him to intercede for them. He telephoned me one night and 
prefaced his remarks by the statement that he had told the hotel men 
that he was very certain that I would not agree to their request but 
that he would ask me to consider it. He said that they emphasized 
that in cities like Richmond and Norfolk, which had a large tourist 
patronage, it would be difficult to satisfy such guests without their 
usual alcoholic beverages; that they desired to keep whatever law was 
passed, but that if it was strict prohibition, it would be difficult to pre- 
vent law violations both by their guests and employees. 

I told Brother Branch that the question he presented had been thor- 
oughly discussed and it had been found impossible to draft any pro- 
vision which would exempt hotels without opening the door for whole- 
sale law evasion. However, I also told him that I did not think the 
hotel men were entirely frank, that they had not stated what I thought 
was the main reason, namely, that such provision would give the hotels 
a monopoly on the sale of intoxicants from which they could make a 
large profit. 

Colonel Branch replied that he was sure that I would refuse the 
request, but some of the men were friends of his and he agreed to present 
it without any pressure. I wrote a note acknowledging receipt of the 
petition, stating my inability to recommend the exceptions desired and 
filed the petition. 

The story of the incident became known to the wet workers around 



the Capitol. Mr. Thomas Whitehead, the attorney of the league, heard 
two of them discussing it, and brought me their version: 

This man Cannon went to John Murphy to rent an office and Murphy 
rented him his own private office, his own desk and chair, to run the 
campaign against his own crowd, and then John Murphy and all the rest 
of the hotelkeepers drew up a petition, asking that the hotels be granted 
the right to sell liquor to their guests. They sent it to this man Cannon. 
He called in his crowd, read it to them and then threw it in the waste-basket 

and spit tobacco juice on it, and said, "To with John Murphy and 

his crowd!" 

This version of the incident was told by my friend with great gusto, 
more so as I never use profanity or tobacco. 

On the night before the vote I had positive assurances that it would 
be twenty to twenty, counting pairs, and that the lieutenant-governor 
would cast the deciding vote in the affirmative. On the morning of 
the vote, Brother Peters came to me considerably distressed and said it 
was stated that one of the senators we had depended upon had been 
in company with opponents of the bill the night before and was then 
too sick to get to the Senate Chamber and could not secure a pair. I 
did some prompt, positive, local and long-distance telephoning. How 
the result was accomplished I do not know, but I do know that greatly 
to the disappointment of the wets the twenty votes for the passage of 
the bill were forthcoming, the lieutenant-governor voted aye, and the 
bill was passed. 

After the passage of the enabling act it was necessary for me to hurry 
to Waynesville and get in order the program for the Southern Assembly 
for the summer of 1914. The General Conference met in May in Okla- 
homa City, and I was obliged to be at the Conference for about three 
weeks. While I was absent at the General Conference, I was notified 
that I had been elected by the Blackstone Board of Trustees to be 
president of the college. 

Upon my return to Virginia I attended the Blackstone Commence- 
ment, got out the new catalogue, arranged finally for the faculty for 
the coming year and left to Brother George P. Adams, the secretary and 
treasurer of the college, the responsibility for canvassing for students. 
I moved my family to Ginter Park, Richmond, and then gave myself 
to the state-wide campaign, until the vote was taken in September, 1914, 
except for necessary visits to Waynesville and Blackstone. 

The Executive Committee of the League placed me in charge of the 
campaign with full power to select my assistants, to develop an ef- 
ficient organization, to secure funds, and to carry on the platform and 


literature campaign. I was fortunate in already having efficient and 
trustworthy field men in the persons of the Reverend J. D. McAlister, 
the Reverend Ed. J. Richardson, and the Reverend David Hepburn. 
And I was especially fortunate in arranging with the Blackstone offi- 
cial church board to release their pastor, the Reverend J. Sidney Peters, 
to assist me in the organization work of the state. 

While credit is due to all those who labored, yet the thorough, sys- 
tematic organization of the state with congressional, county, and precinct 
chairmen carried on by Brother Peters was probably the most effective 
work that was done. Daily reports from the different congressional 
districts of the state came to my desk every morning. All statements 
pertaining to the campaign were clipped from papers all over the state 
and also put on my desk. 

Special care was exercised in the selection of platform speakers for 
various committees. I used comparatively few speakers from outside 
the state, although pressure was very strong to get me to use Secretary 
[William Jennings] Bryan, Captain [R. P.] Hobson, and Sam Small, 17 
but they all made charges for their services which I did not think the 
League was justified in paying, and so I used them only once or twice. 
I did use with great effectiveness ex-Governor Robert B. Glenn of North 
Carolina, who was an able, enthusiastic, convinced prohibitionist, spoke 
very impressively, and at small cost. 18 

The pulpit of the state rendered splendid service. The Baptist, Dis- 
ciple, Methodist, and Presbyterian ministers spoke clearly and em- 
phatically in sermons and addresses and furnished a fine corps of speakers 
for public meetings at little expense. Many Episcopal ministers also 
came out strongly for the state-wide law. 

I was exceedingly fortunate to find an old residence on the corner 
of Seventh and Grace streets, Richmond, which was ideally located and 
admirably adapted to our work. The streetcar lines to all parts of the 
city passed within a block. The office of the Richmond Virginian was 

17. This undoubtedly refers to Richmond Pearson Hobson (1870-1937), graduate of 
the U. S. Naval Academy, 1889, who won fame for his sinking of the collier Merrimac 
in Santiago harbor during the Spanish-American war. He resigned from the Navy in 
1903 and was elected to Congress from Alabama, where he served from 1907 to 1915. 
He was apparently the first to introduce in Congress and advocate an amendment for 
total prohibition. 

Samuel White Small (1851-1931) was a Tennessee and Georgia journalist. He 
served as secretary to President Andrew Johnson after the latter's presidential years, and 
then became an editorial writer for the Atlanta Constitution. 

18. Robert Brodnax Glenn (1834-1920), governor of North Carolina (1905-1909), was 
an ardent prohibitionist and probably responsible for the passage of a prohibition law 
in his state. 


only one block distant. The building was large enough to house all 
of our activities, including a job printing office in the basement, so 
that there was no waste of time in going from one building to another. 
The literature campaign of the League was exceedingly effective. 

The brewers and distillers from outside the state contributed large 
sums of money to aid in the state liquor forces. Large space was taken 
by them in the daily papers for the publication of abusive and vicious 
attacks. The editorial and news columns of the wet press attacked the 
methods, motives, and aims of the Anti-Saloon League and of its 
workers, especially mine. Every possible effort was made to run a red 
herring across the track and to divert the minds of the people from the 
main issue. 

An effort was made to deceive the farmers by lugging in a dis- 
cussion of the tobacco question instead of the main issue — "Shall the 
State of Virginia Dissolve Her Partnership with the Saloon?" The 
so-called Local Self-Government League attempted to make local self- 
government the issue. 

During the height of the campaign an attack was made upon me in 
the American, a newspaper published at Marion, Virginia, by Mr. W. C. 
Pendleton, the purpose of which was to stir up opposition to the state- 
wide movement because of the personality of myself, its chosen leader. 
In replying to this criticism I stated: ". . . even though the Reverend 
James Cannon, Jr., should be proved to be arrogant, why reflect upon the 
moral forces of Virginia?" 

A second attack appeared in the American, not discussing the question 
"Shall the State of Virginia Dissolve Her Partnership with the Saloon?" 
but discussing my personality, and calling for my views on speculation 
in stocks, or information as to whether I had speculated in stock, and 
inquiring from what sources I got money. To this letter I replied: 

I suppose I should feel complimented that you consider my personality 
of sufficient importance to think that a discussion of it will minimize even 
in the smallest degree the interest of the public in the state-wide question. 
But I have not been fighting the liquor traffic for twenty years without 
learning some things. Your open letter to me was not written because you 
are so anxious to know my views on speculation in stocks, or to know 
whether I have speculated in stocks, or to know from what sources I get 
money. You are using the tactics of lawyers who have no case before a 
jury and therefore try to excite sympathy by "abusing the plaintiff's at- 
torney." You wish now to get the people to think that the issue is the 
personality of the Reverend James Cannon. I have been in many dis- 
cussions concerning principles, and men have made the effort to becloud 



the real issue by discussing my conduct and personality instead of the 
principle involved. My personal affairs have all been discussed by persons 
who have opposed me on questions of principle. 

I was not at all disturbed by this discussion and refused to be drawn 
into any questions concerning my personal affairs, and while the enemy 
tried to make capital and to besmirch me in order to damage the state- 
wide prohibition cause, the incident was not seriously regarded by the 

On February 5, 1937, I received a letter from Mr. W. C. Pendleton, 
then a man ninety years old, from which I quote: 

Bishop Cannon, Jr. 
Washington, D. C. 

Dear Bishop: 

Perhaps you will be surprised to get a letter from me. In 1914, when 
you were working for the adoption of the enabling act, I was publishing 
the American, a weekly newspaper, at Marion, Va. Unwisely I was induced 
by a bunch of your bitter foes in Richmond to severely criticize your record 
in your business transactions, and you and I had a heated correspondence 
over the matter. 

In 1928 when you were vigorously assailing the moral character of Al 
Smith, the Democratic candidate for President, I received a long distance 
phone message from a newspaper correspondent at Washington, one of 
Hearst's men, requesting me to let him have the file of the American 
that contained that correspondence between you and me about the enabling 
act. I had become convinced I had done you a wrong and that you were 
sincere in your convictions of the pernicious designs of the liquor interests 
to get control of the affairs of our country. And I peremptorily refused to 
let the newspaper man have the files of the American. The refusal made 
him very angry and he was rude to me. Unwisely I told him where the 
files were stored in my residence at Marion. My house was then occupied 
by tenants, and certain prominent politicians, who supported Smith and 
wanted liquor, corruptly secured the files and delivered them, I believe, to 
the newspaper correspondent at Washington. 

I am now ninety years old, am a Confederate veteran, and have been 
a member of the Methodist Church for eighty years. When a boy and a 
young man I was a member of old Centenary Church in Richmond, Va., 
when Bishop Doggett and Bishop Granberry served that church as pastors. 
I want to take legal steps against the purloiners of the files of the Ameri- 
can. If you are willing to become my adviser, I would like to have your 
valuable advice as to the best manner to proceed against the thieves. If 
you will consent to do this I will go to Washington immediately and have a 
conference with you. 



I will go to Marion on next Monday, the 8th inst. If you grant my 
request for an interview address me at Marion, Va. 

Truly yours, 

Wm. C. Pendleton 

I had entirely forgotten the incident until the receipt of the above 
letter. I greatly appreciated the fact that at this time, after all the efforts 
of the enemy to destroy my reputation and standing, Mr. Pendleton 
should write me frankly that he had done me an injustice. 

At midnight, September 22, 1914, I gave out the following statement: 

Election returns at midnight confirm the forecast made on Saturday, 
September 19, that nine Congressional Districts would vote dry, only the 
Third District voting wet. It appears now that all the cities of Virginia 
have voted for state-wide prohibition, except Alexandria, Norfolk, and Rich- 
mond, and more than 80 of the counties have voted dry. It is a matter of 
great congratulation that the majority in Norfolk is reduced to about 500, 
and in the city of Richmond to about 2,000. The majority in the state seems 
to be something over 30,000. Last March the Superintendent of the Anti- 
Saloon League made a careful estimate and placed the majority at 27,000. 
But as the campaign advanced it became evident that instead of a majority 
of 10,000 against state-wide prohibition in the cities there would be an actual 
majority of 10,000 for state-wide prohibition in the cities of Virginia. 

As the returns were coming in showing dry majorities in every sec- 
tion of the state, the people began to assemble at Seventh and Grace 
streets until at last the crowd extended more than a block in every 
direction. Every telegram was greeted with cheers; and finally when 
there was no doubt of the results the great crowd broke into "Praise 
God from Whom All Blessings Flow" and continued to sing other 
hymns of victory. There never had been before any such gathering in 
the streets of Richmond praising God for the great victory over one of 
the "works of the devil." 

Thus ended a bitter struggle of five years' duration seeking to record 
the vote of the people of Virginia upon the question: "Shall the State 
of Virginia Dissolve Her Partnership with the Saloon?" 

There were published many tributes of appreciation for the work 
done, but I valued none more highly than the one in the Winchester 
Star, which I think was written either by Richard Evelyn Byrd or by 
his son, the editor of the paper, Harry Flood Byrd. The Star said: 

Any moralizing over the results of the election must perforce include 
the unique and dominating personality of James Cannon, Jr. He is the 
chief architect of the splendid organization which has just achieved so 
signal and conclusive a victory. Like all men in public life he has aroused 


bitter enemies. Some of his opponents have been unsparing in their criticism 
and wholly without regard for truth in their charges against his motives 
and character. He has thriven under these because they were untrue. The 
fact is that he is a man of immense ability and energy, who has dedicated 
himself to the accomplishment of a great reform. For this work he has 
not taken money, but has given money. His first lieutenants are J. D. Mc- 
Alister and Sidney Peters, who have played a powerful and effective part 
and must not be overlooked when the honors of the victory are awarded. 
Rev. Ed. J. Richardson, whom we claim, as a former resident of Frederick 
County, both as a lecturer and as an organizer, distinguished himself. 

And then the Star continues with an exceedingly significant and far- 
seeing statement: 

The Anti-Saloon organization must be kept up. First, because it is in 
the power of the General Assembly to change by statute the result of the 
election under the enabling act, and second because the enforcement of the 
prohibition law is even more important than the enactment of it. 

This statement by the Star emphasizes the program of the Anti-Saloon 
League: agitation, legislation, law enforcement. The League has al- 
ways held that every part of its program was equally important, and that 
legislation was worthless unless efficient law enforcement followed. . . . 

Following the state-wide election I gave to the press a personal state- 

During the state-wide prohibition campaign, statements were made that 
the reason for the writer's advocacy of the prohibition cause was his desire 
to be the governor of Virginia, and that he was building up a strong political 
organization to be used for that purpose. 

Since the election letters have been received from friends suggesting 
that the writer allow his name to be used as a candidate for governor in 
order that the administration of the prohibition law might be in friendly 

The statements made during the progress of the campaign were not 
answered, because the answers would have been attacked by the wet news- 
papers as insincere and as an effort simply to deceive the voters just as the 
same newspapers attacked the sincerity of the statements made by the 
Executive Committee of the Anti-Saloon League concerning the future 
crusade on tobacco. 

But now that the election is over, and there can be no possible charge 
made that the action is for the purpose of influencing the voters, I think 
it only proper that I should make the following statement: 

The office of governor of Virginia is a high and honorable position, 
and furnishes many opportunities for service to the people of Virginia. There 
is no reason, constitutional or otherwise, why any man whom the people 


of Virginia may desire to serve them in that capacity should not do so, even 
though he be a minister of the gospel, and I should make no adverse 
criticism upon any minister who should respond to a call from the people 
to serve them in that, or any other office of the state. Personally, however, 
I have never had any desire to be governor of Virginia, I have no desire 
today, and I do not expect to have any such desire in the future. While 
I fully appreciate the good opinion of all my friends, and the kind things 
which they have said in connection with this matter, yet I am convinced 
that my work does not lie in that direction, and that my best service to the 
people of Virginia could not be rendered in the office of governor. 

I do think that the people of Virginia should elect as the next governor 
a man who believes in the wisdom and righteousness of state-wide prohibition, 
and who will, therefore, from personal conviction do everything possible 
to make the prohibition law a success. I shall certainly do all in my power 
to assist in nominating such a man in 191 7. 

The state-wide fight had been won, but there was an aftermath. It 
had been necessary to spend approximately $85,000 in the literature and 
speaking campaign. In order to secure the money and to have no delay 
whatever in the fight I had borrowed about $30,000 from the country 
banks in small amounts of from $1,000 to $2,500. When our accounts 
were all paid, we owed the banks $24,000, for which I was personally 
responsible. I had put so much of my available resources behind the 
Richmond Virginian that this large amount troubled me. I had quite 
a physical breakdown for a few days after the election. I sent for 
Brother Peters and talked the matter over with him and asked him to 
call together a group of our friends, with whom I met and to whom I 
stated the facts. 

Mr. W. H. Vincent, of Capron, called for a batch of notes, the 
amounts due to each bank were called out, a new note made for the 
amount due. Mr. Vincent put his name on the back of each of the 
notes and passed them around the table and every man signed the notes. 
They were the most remarkable negotiable notes I have ever seen. All 
of them had sixteen signatures on the back, made by men whose com- 
bined resources were considerably over a million dollars. Thus was the 
debt handled, to my great relief. It was paid ofT in full in the next 
three or four years. But the way in which my friends responded to my 
call was as manna to my soul. 

The men who had founded and supported the Richmond Virginian 
were greatly delighted with the effective work which was done by the 
Virginian; indeed it was the right arm of power of the Anti-Saloon 
League during the entire campaign. 


Following the success of the election, the main work of the Anti- 
Saloon League of Virginia was to elect a House of Delegates and a 
Senate entirely friendly to the carrying out of the will of the people 
of Virginia as expressed at the polls. That result was accomplished. 
The Democratic administration faction, under the leadership of Senator 
Martin, co-operated fully in securing a good majority in the Senate, as 
well as a sweeping majority in the House. 

As the executive officer of the League, I stated to the Democratic 
leaders that my activities in connection with the General Assembly 
were restricted to matters relating to social and moral welfare. But I 
did insist that all committees which passed upon legislation affecting in 
any way moral issues before the people should be composed of men 
friendly to such legislation. There was a great deal of sharp and un- 
just criticism because of my objection to the placing of men hostile to 
our moral aims on the committees. 

These attacks were met in the Virginian and the Advocate. But 
the composition of some of the committees was declared to be evidence 
of my dictatorship over the General Assembly of Virginia, which 
slander has been perpetuated by the newspapers through all the years. 
I declared then openly that my insistence upon favorably constituted 
committees was not a personal matter, but that I had been charged with 
the responsibility by the the people of the state to see to it that their 
wishes were carried out by the General Assembly. 

During that session of the legislature a judge of the State Supreme 
Court of Appeals was elected. The candidates for the position were 
Professor William Minor Lyle and Judge Frederick W. Sims. 19 I had 
no personal acquaintance with either one of the candidates, and no 
reason personally to favor one above the other. But Professor [Lyle] 
had emphasized his belief that state-wide prohibition was not as good 
a method of handling the liquor traffic as local option. I knew from 
what had happened in other states that any legislation which might be 
passed would be passed upon finally by the Court of Appeals. 

I took no active part in the election, but when my friends came to 
see me and asked for advice, as many of them did, I told them that I 
thought it would be wiser from our viewpoint not to put a man on 
the bench with such pronounced views concerning the legislation for 

19. William Miner Lyle (1859-1935), professor of law at the University of Virginia, 
was founder and editor of the Virginia Law Register and dean of the law school from 
1896 to his death. 

Frederick Wilmer Sims (1862-1925) was judge of Louisa County Court (1890-1905), 
member of the Virginia Senate (1906-1912), and judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals 
of Virginia (1916-1919). 

1 62 


which the people of the state had voted. There was no "unholy alliance" 
in the matter at all. A number of my friends did not vote for Professor 
Lyle, but did vote for Judge Sims, and they, added to friends of Senator 
Martin, formed a majority so that Judge Sims was elected. There was 
nothing "unholy" in my position. It was an expression of my judgment 
as to what I thought was the best course to be followed. 

The shaping of what came to be known as the Mapp Law involved 
a great deal of hard labor. 20 There were four patrons of the bill — 
Senators Mapp, Saunders, Walker, and West. The brunt of the work 
was borne by Senators [Walter G.] Mapp and [C. Harding] Walker, 
who labored steadily and intelligently for several weeks. At their re- 
quest, I was with them in the work most of the time. On mooted 
questions I frequently consulted ex-Governor Mann and ex-Speaker 
Byrd, whose judgment I had learned to value and respect. 

As the work progressed and the bill got before committees, it be- 
came evident that it would be difficult to secure the passage of the bill 
before adjournment unless some agreement was reached as to the 
purchase of beverage alcohol for personal use from outside the state. 
Personally, I was positively opposed to the insertion of such a provision 
in the bill. I realized that the passage of the Webb-Kenyon Law by 
Congress would protect the state from outside shipments. It was 
argued, however, by friends of the State Prohibition Law as a whole 
that there would be much less unrest and dissatisfaction if a limited 
quantity of ardent spirits was allowed to be imported from out of the 

A provision was finally inserted in the bill that one quart of intoxi- 
cating liquor could be imported monthly from outside the state by meet- 
ing the requirements laid down in the bill. I opposed this provision 
openly, but it was adopted by the General Assembly, and I thought 
it would be a great mistake to refuse to accept the bill because I could 
not get everything that I wanted. The principle which I have always 
followed in prohibition legislation is to secure whatever restriction is 
possible upon the sale of intoxicants. I have never refused to accept 
part because I could not get all. 

This provision of the bill was very bitterly and unjustly criticized by 
Congressman Glass, who declared that it caused the sobriquet of "One 

20. "The Mapp Law" was approved on March 10, 1916. It was an act to define 
ardent spirits and to prohibit the manufacture, use, sale, offering for sale, transportation 
for sale, keeping for sale, etc., of ardent spirits. A Commissioner of Prohibition was called 
for, and provisions were made for enforcement of the act {Pollard Supplement to the 
Code of Virginia — Sessions 1912, 1914, 1915, and 1916, p. 1098). 


Quart Cannon" to be given to me and that this was common through- 
out the state. If it was, I heard it very rarely and do not recall seeing it 
in the press, except when he wrote it. Mr. Glass had no right to criti- 
cize any features of the bill. He never gave any assistance whatever 
in the severe fights for the passage of the enabling act in 191 2 and 1914, 
and although he was in Richmond during the meetings of the General 
Assembly both years he never manifested any helpful interest in the 
passage of the bill, and our records do not show that he ever made any 
substantial contribution to the Anti-Saloon League state or national 
work, although he was amply able to do so. What he may have con- 
tributed in local campaigns I do not know, but for a man who boasted 
of his prohibition record he gave no practical help in the passage of 
Virginia prohibition legislation. . . . 

Finally the bill was passed both in the House and in the Senate. 
It was, I am satisfied, the best piece of prohibitory legislation which 
had been adopted up to that time, and I doubt if any better has been 
adopted since. 

Probably it should have been stated before that from the very be- 
ginning of the work for liquor legislation in the General Assembly 
of Virginia, starting with the Mann Law, then the Byrd Law, then 
local-option elections throughout the state, then the five-year battle for 
the enabling act, with the climax in the passage of the Mapp Law, 
the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Virginia was a co-partner 
with the Anti-Saloon League in the great work of securing state-wide 
prohibition for Virginia. This assistance was invaluable in creating 
public sentiment, by the holding of meetings, distribution of literature 
and by the work of their able president, Mrs. Howard M. Hoge, in 
personal interviews with legislators and in addresses before committees 
of the General Assembly. My mother's white ribbon badge symbolized 
my original inspiration to fight the liquor traffic. I rejoice in the ex- 
ceedingly cordial relation which I have always had with the W.C.T.U. 
workers, and I appreciate the loyalty which they have shown to me 
through many troublous years. 

The Mapp Bill provided for the selection of a State Prohibition 
Commissioner to be put in charge of the enforcement of the law. I 
favored that provision and favored an adequate appropriation to enable 
the commissioner to do his work successfully. But when the time came 
to elect the commissioner I found myself in quite a difficult situation. 
Most of my friends thought that the Reverend J. Sidney Peters should 
be elected Prohibition Commissioner, and it was announced that he 


was to be nominated and elected. The wet newspapers were loud in 
their opposition. 

I myself was greatly surprised. I knew that Mr. Peters would make 
a very efficient Prohibition Commissioner, that his heart would be in 
his work, that he was absolutely incorruptible, and that he had the ability 
and courage for the position. But I frankly told him and his leading 
supporters that I did not think it was wise to elect a man to that 
position who had been so active in the state-wide prohibition fight 
and so prominent in the Anti-Saloon League work. 

The wet newspapers could not understand my attitude; indeed 
could hardly believe it to be true. And some went so far as to accuse 
me of hypocrisy because when Mr. Peters was elected, they declared that 
I knew he would be elected and I had simply been speaking for effect. 
The friends of Attorney-General John Garland Pollard urged that the 
work be placed in his hands, hoping thereby to increase his chances 
for the nomination for the governorship, for which he was openly in 
the field. 

At that session of the legislature I secured the appointment of the 
Committee on Moral and Social Welfare, which continued to function 
for many years. I also secured the authorization of the Censorship 
Board of Motion Pictures, which has continued, although, as I have 
been out of Virginia so much since 191 8, I do not know how successful 
have been the efforts of the Censorship Board to give clean pictures 
to the people of the state. 

The legislation adopted in 1916 wound up my active work with 
the General Assembly of Virginia, for, when the legislature met in 191 8, 
I was in Europe in the war work, and the following May I was elected 
one of the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. I did take 
part, however, in the 1917 primary contest for the governorship, and 
regret to state that in that contest I made a mistake in judgment which 
possibly resulted in the election of a candidate unfavorable to the pro- 
hibition laws. 

The three candidates were the Honorable J. Taylor Ellyson, then 
lieutenant-governor; the Honorable John Garland Pollard, then attorney - 
general, and Mr. Westmoreland Davis, who had never been a candidate 
for public office, who had no record behind him, who had been the 
owner and editor of the Southern Planter, and had become popular 
with an element of the farmers of Virginia. 

[Conforming to the usual practice of the Anti-Saloon League, the 
Virginia executive committee addressed a letter to each of the three 
candidates requesting their attitudes toward prohibition legislation in 


the state. Ellyson replied that he had favored all the prohibition legis- 
lation passed in recent years, that as governor he would see that the 
laws were enforced, and that he would "co-operate in submitting the 
question of constitutional prohibition to the people whenever they 
think it wise to take this step." Pollard, too, was vigorous in asserting 
his support for prohibition, stating that present laws should be per- 
fected and "rigidly enforced," and that he favored amending the con- 
stitution to include a prohibition plank. Davis, on the other hand, 
although claiming to be personally a dry and insisting that he would 
enforce the law, refused to commit himself to future action, especially 
to a constitutional amendment which had not yet been formulated. 
These replies were all published in the Richmond Virginian, July 14, 

i QI 7- 

[The political dilemma faced by the prohibition leaders was obvious; 
and Cannon's "mistake in judgment" was undoubtedly in his failure to 
resolve this dilemma. Both Pollard and Ellyson had submitted answers 
which must have been satisfactory to the Anti-Saloon League. How 
would it be possible to unite enough support behind one of them to 
defeat Davis? Apparently Cannon had already decided to support J. 
Taylor Ellyson. By July 7 he was thus informing those who asked 
him for advice. Undoubtedly Pollard's adherents were tendering similar 
advice. In any case, a split occurred which received publicity 
when a letter to the editor from Dr. G. H. Lambeth was pub- 
lished in the Virginian on July 27. Lambeth asserted that it was 
obvious that the Anti-Saloon League was preparing to support Mr. 
Ellyson. In this, he added, the executive officers of the League "are 
entirely consistent with a long fixed habit of partiality towards the 
'organization,' but wholly inconsistent with the emphatic assertion that 
the League is not in politics." Queried Lambeth, Why support Elly- 
son, a man whose views on the enabling act had been a long time in 
doubt, whereas Pollard had been always a faithful dry? 

[Cannon was given an opportunity to prepare a reply to Lambeth's 
letter and both appeared in the same issue of the Virginian. It ran 
to approximately seventeen single-spaced typed pages. Cannon insisted 
that until July 7 he had replied to all inquiries that the Anti-Saloon 
League would take no part in the election. After that date, however, 
he replied "not as Superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League, but as an 
individual citizen of Virginia . . . that I expected to vote for the Hon- 
orable J. Taylor Ellyson, that Dr. R. H. Pitt, the editor of the Religious 
Herald . . . and the Reverend J. Sidney Peters, the Commissioner of 
Prohibition, expected also to vote for Mr. Ellyson, but that no one 



of us as leaders of the Anti-Saloon League had used his official position 
... to advance Mr. Ellyson's candidacy, and that so far as the Anti- 
Saloon League was concerned the record and position of both men were 

[But then Cannon listed his reasons for preferring Ellyson to Pollard. 
Pollard, according to Cannon, had not been particularly co-operative 
during the League's long fight for prohibition. On one occasion, Can- 
non claimed, he had even made available certain private letters from 
Cannon to "wet newspapers." Ellyson, on the other hand, was a Con- 
federate veteran, had a "record for efficient service and responsible 
trust" in the Baptist Church, was an active Democratic politican well 
acquainted with the state and with legislative practice, and had been 
active in the prohibition fight since 1885. On this last point, Cannon 
took specific issue with Lambeth. 

[The campaign thus developed into a bitter one, with the "dries" 
almost equally divided between Pollard and Ellyson. Davis took full 
advantage of this, and on primary day was easily nominated.] 

VI. The Tight for ^National Prohibition 


In the meanwhile I had been giving more and more of my time to 
national prohibition. I served on the joint committee for the shaping 
and the passage of the Webb-Kenyon Law, which was adopted in 
February, 1913. In the passage of this law I had the active and efficient 
assistance of Senator Martin in the Senate, and the Honorable Charles 
C. Carlin, the representative from the Eighth District of Virginia, in the 
House. I wrote to both of them in January, 1913, expressing my anxiety 
lest the bill should be postponed until too near the close of the 
session, and urged them to press the matter as strongly as possible. 
Senator Martin replied, assuring me that he would give the bill his 
special attention, and shortly afterward wrote me that in consultation 
with the Republican Senator Gallinger, the date for the vote on the 
bill had been set for February 10 and that as soon as the bill was 
passed it could be substituted for the House bill on the calendar. His 
prediction was verified and the bill passed the Senate on February 10 
and was rushed over to the House. 

Congressman Carlin was a member of the House Judiciary Com- 
mittee and assured me that the bill would be voted upon by that com- 
mittee on February 5, in ample time for it to be acted upon in the House. 
Mr. Carlin wrote on February 15, after the passage of the bill, in reply 
to a letter of appreciation: 

I am glad to know you appreciate the service I have rendered in the 
advancement of legislation desired by the temperance people of my state. 
It is rumored here at the Capitol today that the President will veto the bill, 
and it comes from a source which leads me to believe that perhaps the in- 
formation is accurate. It would be well to look after this. The next time 
you are in Washington, drop in to see me. I am always glad to see you. 

Following up Mr. Carlin's suggestion, I went promptly to Washing- 
ton, and with some one of the Anti-Saloon League leaders (I do not 
now remember who it was) I went to see President Taft. It was the 
first time I had ever met him personally. While he thought the legisla- 



tion was unconstitutional, and did veto it, yet he received me very 
courteously, not to say kindly. He produced the impression upon me 
that he did not recognize how very important the legislation was; in 
fact, he practically said that he thought that it was better not to have 
so much legislation, and very pleasantly bade me goodbye, stating that 
he was glad to have a Virginia Democrat come to see him. He vetoed 
the bill, as Mr. Carlin predicted, and Congress passed it over his veto. 

It was the first great victory of the Anti-Saloon League in Congress. 
Minor victories had been won before, but the overriding of the Presi- 
dential veto marked the milestone. As President Taft was riding in the 
carriage with President-elect Wilson to the Capitol, when the carriage 
passed underneath the windows of the Anti-Saloon League, he cast his 
eyes up at the windows, which were full of Anti-Saloon League leaders, 
and smiled very broadly, and while we could not hear we were sure 
that he indulged in his famous chuckle. He was a broadminded, big- 
hearted man, and bore no malice for the overriding of his veto. Al- 
though he did not favor the adoption of the Eighteenth Amendment, 
yet later on he became convinced by observation that the placing of the 
brand of the criminal upon the liquor traffic was a very beneficial 
measure, and wrote positively to that effect some years before his death. 

During the fight for the passage of the Webb-Kenyon Law I was as- 
sociated more closely with the national workers of the League than I 
had been before. The national workers who were especially active for 
the Webb-Kenyon Law were Dr. E. C. Dinwiddie, the Legislative Super- 
intendent of the Anti-Saloon League of America, and Dr. Ernest H. 
Cherrington, General Secretary of Publishing Interests. This was prob- 
ably the best piece of work ever done by Dr. Dinwiddie. The Republican 
party was in power, but it was not a partisan, political fight. The leader 
in the House was Democratic Congressman, E. Y. Webb of North 
Carolina, now Judge Webb, and the leader in the Senate was Senator 
Kenyon, a Republican from Iowa, later Judge Kenyon. 1 

Dr. Dinwiddie was a man of industry and ability. I was associated 
with him in the work at Washington for about ten years. He was an 
Ohio product, a strong Republican, as was every one of the Ohio pro- 
hibition leaders — Baker, Russell, Cherrington, Wheeler, and Dinwiddie. 
While he endeavored to keep on agreeable terms with the Southern 

I.Edwin Yates Webb (1872-1955) was a congressman from North Carolina (1903- 
191 1 ) and has served as the U. S. Judge in the 9th North Carolina District since 1919. 

William Squire Kenyon (1869-1933), backed by Progressive Republicans, was selected 
in 191 1 to fill the unexpired term of Senator J. P. Dolliver of Iowa. He was elected in 
his own right in 19 13, but resigned in 1922 when appointed by Harding to a Federal 
Circuit Court. 


Democrats, who furnished the bulk of the votes for all advanced liquor 
legislation during the Wilson administration and through the prohibition 
era, yet he was genuinely a Republican, and in our committee counsels 
he nearly always emphasized the work done by the Republican men like 
Senator Gallinger. I became satisfied from my work on the Webb- 
Kenyon Bill that further advanced legislation would demand some 
genuine Southern Democratic activity to secure the support of men like 
Senator Martin and Congressman Carlin. Concerning this I will speak 
later on. 

My association with Dr. E. H. Cherrington had been helpful from 
the beginning of my relation to the National League. For nearly thirty- 
five years we have been brought together in prohibition activities of 
various kinds. While we have not always agreed as to details, yet in all 
the years there has never been any serious difference of opinion or clash 
of judgment. I consider that Dr. Cherrington deserves greater credit 
than any other one man for the adoption of the Eighteenth Amendment. 
He has always emphasized the fundamental value of educational work. 
With extraordinary business ability, excellent judgment of men and 
methods, with little of what I should call dominating prejudices con- 
cerning individuals, with a Northern Republican education, but with 
broadmindedness enough to recognize the real facts concerning South- 
ern Democrats, moreover with uncommon physical and mental endow- 
ments, he outlined and carried forward a program which brought victory 
to the prohibition cause. 

He established and maintained the American Issue Publishing Com- 
pany at Westerville, Ohio, from which hundreds of millions of pages of 
educative facts concerning the results of the traffic in beverage alcohol 
went all over the country. He organized and directed a National 
Speakers' Bureau, putting upon the platform through many years an 
array of the strongest speakers in the nation on the prohibition question. 
He was the great general of the Anti-Saloon League's platform and 
press, and his headquarters at Westerville was an arsenal of facts from 
which workers and speakers all through the nation obtained effective 
weapons of warfare. His methods have never been spectacular, and he 
has personally never sought the limelight, and the nation at large has 
never recognized the primacy of his leadership, as compared with some 
other workers who have been more prominent before the public. 

There was one question on which we did not always agree. He had 
a loyalty toward Dr. P. A. Baker, the second National Superintendent 
of the League, which was both personal and official. The Ohio group 
of workers had been largely developed while Dr. Baker was superinten- 


dent in the state of Ohio. Dr. Baker was a man of positive convictions, 
not unmixed with personal and political prejudices. As a leader in the 
fight in Ohio he asked and gave no quarter. He had, until the latter 
years of his life, an iron will which demanded, and usually secured, 
agreement with his views. He was an efficient leader in the organization 
of state leagues, and showed more than average judgment in the selection 
of men to be state superintendents. He was an intense Republican, and 
until his residence in Alabama for health considerations, he had very 
poor understanding of the Southern situation. He came to Virginia only 
a few times during his superintendency. 

My association with Dr. Baker at conventions and on committee 
work was in latter years rather intimate, and I think we learned to 
understand each other better. He was not naturally a good worker on 
committees. He was too inclined to come to meetings with his views 
already fixed, desiring speedy action. I was obliged to oppose his views 
on several occasions. The National Legislative Committee, of which Dr. 
Baker was an ex officio member, was organized in 1913. As chairman of 
the committee I always notified him of our meetings. He did not at- 
tend very often. But whenever he was present and any issue arose, so 
intense was the loyalty of the Ohio men toward him that while they 
might argue against him, somewhat apologetically, yet it was difficult 
for them actually to vote contrary to his wishes. His residence in Ala- 
bama finally changed his general attitude toward the South, and he 
came to recognize very fully that the South was the real stronghold of 
prohibition sentiment in the nation. He thought of Cherrington, Din- 
widdie, and Wheeler as boys whom he had trained for the League work, 
and it was difficult for him to think that they would follow any policy, 
or take any action, contrary to his judgment. He recognized with diffi- 
culty the fact that the views of other men, representing other sections 
of the country, must be given consideration, and sometimes have deter- 
mining weight. He was an able man, but not the ablest of the Anti- 
Saloon League leaders. 

In March, 1913, Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated as President of 
the United States, and an era of eight years of Democratic control of the 
government began. Many of the Southern men in Congress, speaking 
through Senator Martin (the Democratic floor leader and one of the 
outstanding Democratic leaders), stated very frankly that Dr. Dinwiddie 
was recognized as a born Ohio Republican, and that there were many 
Democrats who would prefer to confer with some Democratic League 
worker. Consequently, the Executive Committee of the League elected a 
Legislative Committee, which was composed at first of Dr. Arthur J. Bar- 


ton of Texas; 2 Dr. W. B. Wheeler of Ohio, and myself as chairman. This 
committee, as its name indicated, was put in charge of the legislative 
work at Washington with Dr. Dinwiddie as Legislative Superintendent, 
working under its direction, Dr. Baker being an ex officio member. A 
year or so later Dr. Ernest H. Cherrington was added to the committee, 
and when Dr. Wheeler was elected Legislative Superintendent he re- 
signed from the committee, and Mr. W. H. Anderson, superintendent 
of the New York State League, was elected a member. That committee 
had charge of all the legislation which was presented to Congress for 
the next fifteen years. 

The Fourteenth International Congress against Alcoholism was held 
in Milan, Italy, in September, 191 3. Senator Martin wrote the Secretary 
of State, Mr. Bryan, urging my appointment as one of the official dele- 
gates. This was done, and so after the summer season had ended at 
Lake Junaluska, my wife and I sailed for Europe, the first and only 
time that we ever made a European trip without anyone else with us. 
We had just celebrated our silver wedding anniversary on August 1, 
1913, an occasion of much happiness. . . . We had both labored very 
hard to make the opening season of the Southern Assembly a success, 
and that European trip was one of the most delightful experiences of 
our lives. ... 

Going from Liverpool to London we spent a day and night at Strat- 
ford, likewise at Oxford, and came into London at about the best season 
of the year. Parliament was not in session, but the holidays were over. 
David Lloyd George had become one of the great men of England by 
his success as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Mr. Asquith, as Prime 
Minister of England, had thrown down the gauntlet to the House of 
Lords on the Education Bill, and had swept away the right of the House 
of Lords to place a final veto on any action taken by the House of 
Commons as the real representative of the people. 

I was given a letter of introduction to Lloyd George by Dr. John 
Clifford, the great Liberal Baptist, and found him very much interested 
in the question of the control of the liquor traffic. He was even then 
talking of bringing in a prohibition bill for Wales. He was, as he has 
always been, one of the most attractive personalities in public life. He 
was in his prime, physically, mentally, and in a sense, politically. There 
was no intimation, however, in any talk with him that he believed there 

2. Arthur James Barton (1867-1942) was a Baptist minister and superintendent of 
the Anti-Saloon League of Texas. He served as chairman of the executive committee of 
the Baptist national conference which framed the Sheppard-Kenyon Bill (191 1) on inter- 
state liquor shipments. 


was any possibility of a European war which would make him Prime 
Minister of Great Britain. . . . 

We stopped in Paris for only one day, simply to take a drive through 
the most beautiful parts of the city and to renew our recollections of 
Versailles and the Trianon Palaces. We stayed in Milan at a very com- 
fortable, moderate-priced hotel with a bill of fare containing some Eng- 
lish and American dishes, but with an amazing amount of macaroni and 
spaghetti. It was the first real International Congress I had ever attended. 
Dr. Robert Hercod 3 was even then the outstanding Continental tem- 
perance worker. Miss Agnes Slack 4 was, I remember, one of the delegates 
to that congress from England, and while she does not speak the best 
of French, it was helpful to be alongside of her, as French was used more 
than any other language except English. I took comparatively little 
part in the discussions in the congress, but was finally urged to make 
a statement of the facts of the prohibition situation in the South. . . . 

My statement brought forth the most animated discussions of the 
congress, and it was printed practically as delivered in English and 
Scottish papers, which I read when I passed through England on my 
return. I learned that my statement was discussed in the Continental 
temperance papers as describing an exceptional situation, with no idea 
that it was an indication of what would happen five years later. . . . 

Our return voyage was by the way of the St. Lawrence, sailing from 
Liverpool on the steamer Teutonic, a small but very fast steamer, at a 
very moderate price. We found on board Miss Agnes Slack and Lady 
Howard, the daughter of Rosalind, Countess of Carlisle, President of the 
World's Christian Temperance Union. They were on their way to a 
meeting of the World's Christian Temperance Union in the United 
States. The days on shipboard gave opportunity for continued con- 
ference and resulted in the formation of very pleasant friendships. . . . 

We reached home greatly refreshed and I began preparations at 
once not only for the work in the Virginia Legislature of 1914, which has 
already been described, but also as chairman of the new National Legis- 
lative Committee, to press for the passage of the resolution for the sub- 
mission of the Prohibition Amendment. 

At the national convention of the Anti-Saloon League held in Colum- 
bus the League had come out openly for national prohibition, and one 
of the greatest demonstrations that ever held the attention of the 

3. Robert Hercod was superintendent of the International Temperance Bureau at 
Lausanne, Switzerland. 

4. Agnes Slack was active in the World's W.C.T.U. and in the National British 
Women's Temperance Association. 


national capital occurred when the campaign for the enactment of the 
constitutional amendment outlawing the liquor traffic was launched. 
The Washington Post stated: "More than 1300 men and women, repre- 
senting every state and territory in the Union, marched to the Capitol 
to present to Congress mammoth petitions for the passage of the Amend- 

A little boy led the procession carrying the American flag. Following 
him were fifty little girls garbed in white, and after them came hundreds 
of marchers from the various states under the auspices of the Anti- 
Saloon League of America, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, 
and other allied organizations. The procession passed up Pennsylvania 
Avenue to the east front of the Capitol, and there on the steps of the 
Capitol building Dr. Ernest H. Cherrington and others presented ad- 
dresses to Congress. 

Governor W. H. Mann, of Virginia, was in the procession as a vice- 
president of the Anti-Saloon League in Virginia, and as a lifelong 
advocate of prohibition. The demonstration was a great success and the 
secular press of the nation awoke for the first time to a realization that 
national constitutional prohibition was seriously to be reckoned with. 

The resolution was introduced in both the House and Senate and was 
known as the Hobson-Sheppard Amendment. 5 As chairman of the 
National Legislative Committee I spoke at the hearings before both 
the Senate and House Committees. Immediately before my speech to 
the Senate Committee, Senator William E. Borah, a member of the 
committee, declared: 

I made up my mind a long time ago as to the necessity of exterminating, 
if possible, the liquor traffic, but I want to be absolutely certain that I do 
not make a mistake in trying to do it the wrong way. I wish those who 
are in favor of the Amendment will bear that in mind because it is the 
one point that interests me most. My experience has been that the national 
government does not enforce its laws as effectively as does the state. 

I replied: 

In view of the statement made by Senator Borah, I shall address myself 

5. The Hobson-Sheppard resolution for an amendment to the Constitution contained 
the following provisions: 

"Section i.The sale, manufacture for sale, transportation for sale, importation for sale 
of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes in the United States and all territory subject 
to the jurisdiction thereof and exportation for sale thereof are forever prohibited. 

"Section 2. The Congress or the states shall have power independently or concurrently 
to enforce this article by all needful legislation." 

The vote was taken on December 22, 19 14, and resulted as follows: 197 yeas, 190 
nays, 1 present, and 40 not voting. Two-thirds not being in favor, the resolution was 
rejected (Cong. Record, vol. 52, 63d Cong., 3d Session, pp. 495 ff., 616). 

i 7 4 


almost entirely to that phase of the question. I know the members of the 
committee are fully cognizant of the facts in reference to the ravages of the 
liquor traffic, and it is not necessary for me to give any statistics on this point. 

The real question as I see it is this, and only this — has the time come for 
the Congress of the United States to give to the people of the several states 
an opportunity to decide for themselves whether they desire this amendment 
to the Constitution? I know, of course, that there is a certain responsibility 
attaching upon the Congress of the United States in submitting any Con- 
stitutional proposition, a very grave responsibility. And yet whenever it 
becomes evident that a large percentage of the people desire an opportunity 
to express themselves upon a great question, the body in whose hands is 
committed the right to decide whether the people shall have such oppor- 
tunity could at least divide the responsibility with the people. And so while 
I am not going to say that it is possible for us to answer the question that 
Senator Borah has asked as to the effectiveness of this method because it has 
never been tried, and we do not know just how effective it may be for the 
United States Government to be behind the law, yet we do feel that the 
question has assumed such a great importance, and the people of the country 
are now so much in earnest about it, that Congress ought at least to give the 
people an opportunity to speak if they desire to do so. 

Now as to the matter of effectiveness of the enforcement of the law by 
the United States Government, as replying directly to Senator Borah I 
would call the attention of the members of the committee to the fact that it 
is not our thought at all in the adoption of this amendment that we shall 
take from the states the right to co-operate with the general government in 
the enforcement of the law. It will not be a question simply of whether the 
United States Internal Revenue offices and the United States courts shall 
themselves be affected, but when the state also has this law on the subject and 
the state law has been violated by an evildoer. . . . the state will continue to 
prosecute just as it does today. Certainly it is not our purpose to take from 
the state its power in co-operation with the general movement to enforce 
the law. The only question that we raise now is — has the time really come 
for such an amendment to the Constitution? Is this a local issue? Is this a 
matter for a town only, for a county only, for a city only, for a state only, 
or has it become evident that the liquor traffic is of such a character that 
the only possible way to handle that traffic is by having the national hand of 
the Government placed upon it. I am a States'-Rights Democrat, as strong 
a States'-Rights man as you can find, and I believe that state sovereignty 
should be preserved until it becomes evident that we have a problem to deal 
with that is not local in its character, that is not state-wide only, but is nation- 
wide. The liquor traffic overrides all state bounds, and ceases to be a geo- 
graphical question. Whenever the time comes that in order to promote the 
general welfare it is neccesary for the states to delegate a right which the 
states have always heretofore possessed, when three-fourths of the states agree 
to such delegation to the general government, the question of state sovereignty 


is no longer the question. The question is what is best for the general 

When it comes to the question of liberty, the gentleman who spoke to the 
committee awhile ago appeared as the representative of personal liberty. 
Well, personal liberty is relative here. If a man is on a desert island like 
Robinson Crusoe, with nobody but animals and trees and inanimate things, 
he might dress and act as he pleased, but the minute a man comes into 
society, the minute a man claims the privileges of society, it becomes a 
question of right. Society is distinctly based upon the limitation of rights. 
So the question of personal liberty is altogether a relative term, and the 
moment society becomes convinced that the exercise of any form of per- 
sonal liberty is damaging to society, or is a menace to the community life, 
then society steps in, and says to every man: "Your rights cease when they 
begin to infringe on the rights of others." The law tells the driver on a 
crowded thoroughfare, "Slow up; watch the stop lights; your machine be- 
longs to you just as much as on an unfrequented road, but in the midst of 
society the rights of other people restrict your rights." Just how far can we 
go in determining what shall be the personal habits of men? Just to the 
point of saying that when the exercise of your right to drink liquor infringes 
upon the safety, happiness, and comfort of society, then you must give up 
your personal rights. And society is not doing you any wrong in putting 
its hand upon you and determining what limit should be placed upon your 
indulgence. The fact that a man cries "Personal liberty!" has no weight today 
in the complex civilization in which we live. Society says, "We will restrict 
injurious exercise of personal liberty. We will not allow a public nuisance 
to exist, whether it pertains to the liquor traffic or any other social evil." 

The hearing before the House Judiciary Committee was held after 
the meeting of the General Conference of 1914. 6 At that General Con- 
ference, in company with some other Virginia delegates, I offered sweep- 
ing resolutions which were reported back by the Committee on Tem- 
perance and adopted by a unanimous rising vote of the Conference. 
Some extracts from those resolutions are given to indicate the sentiment 
of our great Church body : 

Resolved, that we condemn the liquor traffic as the greatest menace of 
our day to the welfare of business, society, and the church; that we regard 
it as a public nuisance which must be abated if our civilization is to be 
saved . . . that we declare the time has come when the protection of the law 
of the land must be taken from this destructive traffic in the bodies and 
souls of our children, and that the man who insists upon his greed and 

6. U. S. Congress House Judiciary Committee: Intoxicating Liquors, hearing on [H. f. 
Res. 168, proposing amendment to Constitution of U. S., prohibiting sale, manufacture, 
transportation, importation and exportation of] intoxicating liquors Dec. n, igij-April 
15, 1914- 

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing took place April 16-May 1, 19 14. 



covetousness by the destruction of his neighbors shall be branded as a 
criminal to be dealt with, as all other offenders against the peace and order 
and uplift of society. . . . We urge our people to remember that the liquor 
traffic, and its allies, hate the Anti-Saloon League because of its effective 
work, and endeavor to destroy that effectiveness by exciting suspicion against 
its leaders. We pledge to these leaders our loyalty, and assure them that we 
will not desert them in the hour of battle because of the slanders of the 

When I appeared as chairman of the Legislative Committee before 
the House Committee of the Judiciary I read first of all the resolutions 
adopted by our recent General Conference, and then very briefly out- 
lined my position, largely in line with the statements made before the 
Senate Committee. . . . 

While the discussion was going on in Congress concerning the adop- 
tion of the resolution, Dr. Baker, Dr. Cherrington, Dr. Dinwiddie, and 
I called upon Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, and asked 
him to use his influence with his friends in Congress to vote for the 
resolution. All of the committee were Republicans, except myself; and 
Mr. Bryan, addressing himself especially to me, emphasized the fact 
that while he was in favor of local and state prohibition, yet he thought 
that it was a mistake to bring up the matter of national prohibition at 
this time. He said that the Democratic administration had a number of 
very important measures for action by Congress, and that it was a great 
mistake to introduce as controversial a matter as the prohibition question 
at this time. 

The Republican members of our committee found it quite difficult 
to argue the question from that standpoint. I did not, however, hesitate, 
as a Democrat, to say to Mr. Bryan that I should greatly regret for it to 
be stated that the Democratic administration was opposed to our efforts 
to pass the Hobson-Sheppard resolution because it feared that it would 
interfere with the Democratic program, and that if he could not help us 
I did trust that he would not express any views which would make our 
work more difficult. 

He was not at all convinced and declined to give us any co-operation. 
Shortly afterward I went to see President Wilson and explained to him 
our position. I told him I wished to assure him that, as a Democrat, I 
was in accord with the great measures which he was trying to get 
through Congress, and desired most earnestly the success of his ad- 
ministration, but I insisted that the prohibition question was not a 
partisan political question, and that our efforts before Congress would 
not be allowed to impede in any way any of the administration measures. 


He was very pleasant and cordial, and I was more strongly impressed 
than before by his sincerity and by his earnestness in trying to do what 
he believed was best for the nation. 

During that summer of 1914 World War I began. While I was 
shocked beyond measure, as I could hardly believe that such a thing as 
a great war could be possible, yet as I thought over the conditions I had 
observed in Germany the year before, the attitude and temper of the 
ruling classes, it did not seem to be contrary to what might have been 
expected. In my interview with President Wilson, which was in the 
fall of 1914, I told him of the impressions which I had received in 
Germany the previous year. He was greatly concerned that the European 
world should be on fire, but indicated that he thought that the United 
States could be kept clear of any involvement. 

On December 18, 1914, the National Legislative Committee, after a 
careful study of the situation, sent an autographed letter to every member 
of Congress outlining the position of the Anti-Saloon League of America 
and urging that the states be given an opportunity to change the funda- 
mental law of the country by the legally constituted method. 

When the day of battle came, the liquor lobby and the wet press 
openly claimed a majority of the House. They pointed out that President 
Wilson and Secretary Bryan did not think it to be an opportune time, 
for while Mr. Bryan did not actively oppose our effort, yet he did state 
that the administration preferred that the time should not be taken from 
more important matters. It was boasted that both Underwood [of Ala- 
bama] and Mann [of Illinois], the floor leaders of both political parties, 
were against the resolution, and they claimed that the States'-Rights Dry 
Democrats would oppose it. But from the time the debate began at 
10 a.m. [December 22, 1914] till the final vote was announced at 11:30 
p.m., it was evident to the careful observer that the opponents of sub- 
mission lacked confidence in the righteousness of their cause and showed 
little enthusiasm, while the advocates of submission were aggressive, 
enthusiastic, and firmly convinced of final victory. 

The galleries were packed to the limit, and the corridors outside were 
filled with people waiting to take the place of any who might leave. 
Contrary to expectation, and although it was only two days before 
Christmas, the attendance of members was unusually large, nearly four 
hundred being present and voting, including pairs. The great petition 
of six million signers was pasted together and hung on the wall behind 
the Speaker's chair, running from one side of the chamber to the other, 
with many loops and folds. In the space in front of the clerk's desk was 
an exhibition of charts, showing the effects of alcoholic indulgence. 


These charts were exceedingly distasteful, indeed quite irritating, to 
some of the opponents of prohibition, and after enduring them for a 
few hours they resurrected an ancient rule forbidding any posters in the 
hall of the House of Representatives, and thus banished the silent wit- 
nesses whose testimony they could not controvert. 

When the smoke of battle had cleared away and the final action had 
been taken, the advocates of submission of the Prohibition Resolution 
had recorded a clear majority of 8, the vote being 197 to 189 in favor of 
submission. National prohibition was no longer then a Utopian dream 
but took its place in the front rank of great moral and social reforms. 
From this time national prohibition was an issue in every congressional 
and senatorial campaign until the question was finally submitted three 
years later. It was a great pleasure to me that the Virginia delegation 
cast 8 votes for submission and only 2 against. After the vote, the 
Legislative Committee and the Legislative Superintendent issued the 
following statement to the country : 

The temperance forces of the country have reason to be deeply gratified 
by the results of this day. It is the first time in the history of the Republic 
that the question of national prohibition has gotten upon the floor of either 
branch of Congress. The fact that this first effort should have shown a clear 
majority of 8, with both floor leaders, the Chairman of the Rules Committee, 
and the prestige of the President and the Secretary of State invoked against 
us, and in view of the further fact that no member of the present Congress 
was elected on this issue, all this is exceedingly gratifying. A record has 
been made. The friends of the measure will no longer be fighting in the 
dark. For the first time the battle line is fairly and clearly drawn. Our 
appeal is now to the people. The longer it takes to secure submission the 
shorter time will be required to reach ratification. 

Concerning this vote in the House, Secretary Bryan, who had declared 
in the Commoner that it was not an opportune time to propose a na- 
tional prohibition amendment "because the submission of such an amend- 
ment at this time would divert attention from other issues pressing for 
consideration, without advancing the cause of prohibition," made a very 
brief statement in the issue of the Commoner following the vote. The 
statement was lacking in any warmth or enthusiasm. It simply declared 
that "the majority of 8 was a striking truth of the growing tide against 
the liquor business." 

While my relations with Secretary Bryan from that time until his 
death were cordial, they were never very intimate. I worked with him 
on several committees, and while I believed that he was a thoroughly 
sincere prohibitionist, yet I thought at times he was inclined to use pro- 
hibition as a personal and political asset. . . . 


On January 28, 191 5, the National Executive Committee of the Anti- 
Saloon League of America met in Columbus, Ohio, from the minutes of 
which I give the following extracts: 

"Dr. James Cannon, Jr., Chairman of the Legislative Committee, pre- 
sented a written report for that Committee." The recommendations of 
that report were considered by the Executive Committee, and the follow- 
ing action was taken: 

During the interim when the Executive Committee of the League is not 
in session each standing subcommittee shall have all the power of the Execu- 
tive Committee as respects the policy and operation of the several depart- 
ments for which these subcommittees were created, and that notice of this 
action be sent by the Secretary to the members of the several subcommittees 
and to the heads of the several National and State Departments concerned. 

Furthermore, the committee voted 

that the standing subcommittees on Legislation and Financial Manage- 
ment be requested to hold regular monthly meetings, and that the heads of 
these Departments present at such monthly meetings full reports, including 
statements of receipts and expenditures of these several departments. 

Furthermore, the Legislative Committee was authorized to arrange 
for a conference to consider procedure with reference to the national 
prohibition constitutional amendment. 

The above several actions were taken because I stated to the com- 
mittee very frankly that I was unwilling to continue as chairman of the 
National Legislative Committee unless it was distinctly understood and 
ordered that the Legislative Superintendent, Dr. Dinwiddie, should 
make regular monthly reports to the Legislative Committee, which 
committee should have the entire authority of the Executive Committee 
during the interim of its meetings. Dr. Dinwiddie, the Legislative 
Superintendent, was an able and efficient worker, but he was secretive 
in his methods and did not know how to do "team" work. I had found 
myself embarrassed in the fight for the Hobson-Sheppard Amendment 
by failure on his part to give me information which I should have had 
to enable me to meet my own responsibility satisfactorily. I told the 
Executive Committee that I was entirely willing to retire, but that I 
was not willing to work as chairman of the Legislative Committee with- 
out authority over the department, including the Legislative Superinten- 

The committee not only adopted the resolutions above indicated, but 
the following was also adopted: 

"Upon motion duly made, seconded and carried, Dr. James Cannon, 
Jr., was requested by the Committee to give as much of his time as 
possible to the legislative work at Washington." 



This, after conference with my wife, I agreed to do under the condi- 
tions indicated above, and while I never attempted or desired to play 
the part of a dictator concerning national legislative matters, yet I did 
demand that both Dr. Dinwiddie, and later Dr. Wheeler, should con- 
form to the letter and spirit of the above resolution. A desk was placed 
for me in the offices of the National League headquarters at Washington 
at which I continued to work as chairman of the Legislative Committee 
until its duties were absorbed temporarily by the Administrative Com- 
mittee in 1930. 

Thus, there was added to my other work one of the most important 
responsibilities I have ever had. It seemed impossible at first to take 
on any additional work. I was president of Blackstone College, not only 
as executive, but as teacher twelve periods weekly. I was superintendent 
of the Southern Assembly, which at that time, owing to war conditions, 
involved exceedingly difficult financial operations, besides the develop- 
ment of the regular summer program. I was editor of the Richmond 
Christian Advocate, and entirely responsible for its editorial and financial 
management. I was superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League of Vir- 
ginia, calling for intensive efforts to secure a dry legislature and to 
frame dry legislation. I was also the principal owner and editorial writer 
of the Richmond Virginian, to which I had pledged practically all my 
savings up to that time. I was Secretary of Education of the Virginia 
Conference, writing and speaking regularly for that, my best loved cause. 

Again I discussed very fully with my wife whether I should comply 
with the request of the National Executive Committee and spend a 
greater part of my time in Washington. A very beautiful president's 
home had been built after my return to Blackstone, and we were enjoy- 
ing for almost the first time real family life, with my two daughters 
teaching in the college, the two younger boys in the college primary 
model-school, and the three older boys in college or university. It did 
seem a little too much to add any additional days of absence from home 
and family to those already necessary in Richmond for the Anti-Saloon 
League, the Advocate, and the Richmond Virginian, and frequent trips 
to Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, for the Southern Assembly work. 
But the call was not of my making. It seemed providential and almost 
imperative for the success of one of the great causes to which I had 
given my life. Once again my noble wife agreed to additional days of 
separation and added responsibilities for herself, and from that time 
my work in Washington became part of the weekly schedule. 

When I agreed to the request of the Executive Committee I coupled 
with it a request of my own that Mr. Wayne B. Wheeler, superintendent 


of the Ohio State Anti-Saloon League, should be relieved from his work 
in Ohio, and should come to Washington as counsel, or attorney, for 
the Anti-Saloon League of America, and as secretary of the Legislative 
Committee. This request was granted, and Mr. Wheeler was elected 
national attorney of the League, and in 191 6 he removed his residence 
to Washington, where he remained until his death in 1927. 

This insistence on my part was based on my association with Mr. 
Wheeler at meetings of the Legislative Committee. I found him to be 
alert, resourceful, sufficiently aggressive, and very amiable, easy to get 
on with in his personal relations. While Dr. Dinwiddie was still Legis- 
lative Superintendent, and I was in Washington as chairman of the 
committee practically every week, yet I thought we needed an additional 
man of a different type to do our most effective work. I found Mr. 
Wheeler to be a most companionable and industrious worker, suggestive, 
but not self-opinionated or stubborn in the conferences of the Legislative 
Committee and the Legislative Superintendent. 

Dr. Dinwiddie was very jealous of what he considered to be the 
prerogatives of his office, and, notwithstanding the explicit action of the 
Executive Committee quoted above, at first he frequently absented him- 
self from conferences which I called. Moreover, he locked with special 
locks the doors leading to the rooms where he did his own work with 
his own secretary. As these rooms contained the whole file of the 
Congressional Record and other reference books, it happened frequently 
at night when Mr. Wheeler and I were working and wanted to verify 
some reference that we could not get into the other rooms. I finally 
told Dr. Dinwiddie that he must remove the locks he had put on the 
doors, that all the offices were under my authority, as chairman of the 
Legislative Committee, and that if he wanted an office for his own 
private personal affairs he would have to rent another one. This he did, 
but the doors were unlocked, and at my insistence he attended the meet- 
ings of the Legislative Committee, but revealed very little of his plans 
and activities, except in response to persistent questioning on my part. 
This attitude of Dr. Dinwiddle's, in direct contrast to that of Mr. 
Wheeler and myself, made it seem that the Legislative Committee and 
the Legislative Superintendent were playing at cross-purposes, even 
though they agreed as to the objective to be secured. 

This disagreement was more strongly emphasized in February, 1917. 
A bill prohibiting all liquor advertisements, or solicitations of orders for 
intoxicants through the mails, had been adopted by the United States 
Senate on January 11, 191 7, and was added as an amendment to the 
Post Office Appropriation Bill. When the Post Office Appropriation Bill 



came up for consideration on February 15, 191 7, Senator James A. Reed 
of Missouri, a violent and abusive opponent of prohibition, offered what 
became known as the Reed "Bone Dry" Amendment, purely as a chal- 
lenge to the dry members of the Senate. The amendment was as follows : 
Whosoever shall order, purchase or cause intoxicating liquors to be 
transported in interstate commerce, except for scientific, sacramental or medic- 
inal purposes, into any state or territory, the laws of which state or ter- 
ritory prohibit the manufacture or sale therein of intoxicating liquors for 
beverage purposes, shall be subject to the punishment aforesaid. 

I was in the Senate gallery with Mr. Wheeler at the time Senator 
Reed proposed his amendment. We both realized that Reed as an enemy 
of prohibition offered his amendment for the purpose of producing con- 
fusion in the dry ranks. We went at once to the lobby and called for 
Senators [Morris] Sheppard [of Texas] and [Wesley L.] Jones [of 
Illinois] and suggested to them that the amendment be either amended 
or killed. They returned to the Senate and asked for a separate vote 
on the provisions of the bill. The vote was taken separately, and the 
provision relating to use was stricken out, and the Reed Amendment 
as quoted above was adopted with a very strange line-up, many of the 
wettest men in the Senate under the leadership of Reed voting for it, 
and many of the dryest men voting against it. 6a 

This "Bone Dry" Amendment went to the House, and the Legisla- 
tive Committee had to decide what counsel it would give to its friends. 
The Reed Amendment utterly ignored the doctrine of states' rights, 
and many of our Southern Democrats stated to me very positively that 
they did not believe that such a law should be passed until national 
constitutional prohibition was adopted, that until the states decided that 
they desired national prohibition they should be allowed to pass such 
liquor laws as they pleased. I talked especially with a number of the 
Virginia representatives, who were entirely willing to vote to submit a 
constitutional amendment, but thought that Congress should not at that 
time pass a law which would infringe upon the liquor legislation al- 
ready adopted by Virginia, and with this position I told them I was in 
substantial agreement. 

Mr. Wheeler also recognized the danger of the situation, and some- 
what to my surprise agreed that we could not afford to advocate legisla- 
tion which was so distinctly anti-states' rights. He therefore drafted a 
letter advising dry representatives not to vote for the Reed Amendment. 
The letter, however, was not sent at that time. Dr. Dinwiddie, who had 
been absent from Washington, returned to the city, and without con- 
da. Cannon has oversimplified complicated legislative maneuvers here. Reed's original 
amendment contained a provision prohibiting "use" of liquor "so transported" (Con- 
gressional Record, Vol. 54, pp. 3330 ff., Feb. 15, 191 7). 


sulfation with the committee spoke and telephoned to our dry people 
urging them to vote for the "Bone Dry" Amendment. Being informed 
of this action by some of my dry Southern friends, I called a meeting of 
the Legislative Committee with the Legislative Superintendent, and Dr. 
Dinwiddie was plainly told that he could not take any such action with- 
out the consent of the Legislative Committee. After thorough discussion 
it was finally agreed to send a letter to the members of the House which 
did not place the committee on record as either supporting or opposing 
the Reed Amendment, but told the members to vote as they pleased. 

When I was asked personally by a number of dry members of the 
House what were my own views on the Reed Amendment, I stated 
that I personally believed that until national constitutional prohibition 
was adopted, states should be free to pass and to enforce their own legis- 
lation without interference by the federal government. I stated that the 
purpose of this amendment was to make a division in the dry ranks and 
to affect, if possible, the vote which would be taken later on the National 
Prohibition Resolution. I therefore thought that every man should vote 
upon the question in accordance with his own convictions. 

Dr. Dinwiddie did not relish the action of the Legislative Committee 
in sending a letter to Congress signed by the entire committee and by 
himself reversing his advice previously given to congressmen without any 
consultation or authority. I myself greatly regretted the necessity for 
such an open rebuke, but it was very beneficial in the long run. It em- 
phasized, especially to the Southern Democrats, that a Southern Demo- 
crat was chairman of the National Legislative Committee, and that 
nothing would be done by that committee until full consultation by the 
chairman with the Southern leaders in Congress. 

My position on this question was sharply criticized by Congressman 
Glass, who in his desire to find some flaw in my record coupled my 
position on the Reed Amendment with the "One Quart" provision of 
the Virginia law as evidence that he was a far dryer man than myself. 

The short, sharp battle on the Reed Amendment took place while the 
Legislative Committee was pressing for the passage of the Sheppard 
Prohibition Bill for the District of Columbia. The Senate Committee 
reported the bill favorably, but true to form the opponents of the bill, 
led by Mr. Underwood of Alabama, threatened a prolonged filibuster. 
Thinking, however, that they had sufficient strength, the opponents of 
the bill agreed to fix a date — January 9 — for the final vote. On January 
8, the day before the vote, the United States Supreme Court rendered 
its sweeping decision on the West Virginia liquor cases, in which de- 
cision the court declared that owing to the dangerous and demoralizing 


nature of the liquor traffic, and the damage which resulted from the 
traffic, to both the material and moral welfare of the nation, the states 
in the exercise of the police power could enact any legislation they might 
deem necessary to protect the people. 7 

With the echoes of this great decision still thundering in the halls of 
the Capitol, the Senate on the next day took up the District Prohibition 
Bill. I think perhaps I put in more vigorous, persistent, personal work 
in connection with this bill than with any measure ever before Congress. 
The Underwood Amendment called for a referendum by the citizens 
of the District of Columbia, an unheard-of proposition before or since. 
My checkup indicated that the vote would be a tie. Of course, if it 
should be announced as a tie, the amendment would be lost. The 
Underwood people were depending upon the vote of Vice-President 
Marshall to break the tie in favor of the amendment. Senator Swanson, 
of Virginia, was a close friend of Vice-President Marshall, and that day 
for some reason Vice-President Marshall requested Senator Swanson to 
preside, absenting himself from the Senate, so that when the tie vote 
was announced the Underwood Amendment was defeated and the 
Sheppard Prohibition Bill was passed by the Senate, but was not taken 
up in the House of Representatives for several weeks. 

The majority in the House were favorable to the bill, but a majority 
of the District Committee were friends of the saloon. Hearings were 
drawn out indefinitely. We waived the right or privilege of any hearing 
for the bill. March 4 was only ten days oflf, and the wet minority be- 
lieved that it could prevent a vote. The Legislative Committee, however, 
had seen the House leaders, and had been promised that a special rule 
would be granted, giving a day to debate and fixing the hour for the 
vote. True to promise, on February 28, only four days before adjourn- 
ment, a special rule was brought in, adopted by the House, and after 
an exceedingly bitter fight the bill was passed without amendment in a 
single section, and sent to the President for his signature. 

During the delay in the House, Senator Martin, on his own initiative, 
suggested that I see the President, and made an appointment for me. 
The President was, as always, courteous, and while posted on the matter 
concerning which I had come to see him, had an air of abstraction. In- 
deed he impressed me in the latter part of February, 1917, as a man 
greatly burdened with a deep sense of responsibility. The ruthless Ger- 
man submarine warfare was at its height. Count Bernstorff, the German 
Ambassador, had been given his passport, and the thoughtful people in 

7. Clark Distilling Company vs. Western Maryland Railway Co. and State of West 
Virginia, decided Jan. 8, 1917 (U. S. Reports, CCXLII, pp. 311-332). 


Washington were sure that war with Germany was only a question of a 
few weeks. Somewhat to my surprise, before taking up the matter con- 
cerning which I had come to see him, the President inquired what was 
the attitude toward the war of the Southern people with whom I was 
brought in contact. I told him very frankly that I thought there was a 
great horror of entering into the war, and yet there was a steadily grow- 
ing conviction that the Germans would make our entrance into it a 
necessity. I also told him that I thought the Southern people were will- 
ing to follow him as a leader in whatever course he might take. 

Discussing the special matter of the District Prohibition Law, the 
President stated that he was not at all certain that he would have in- 
troduced such a bill in Congress, nor was he certain that he would have 
voted for it, but he assured me that he could see no really adequate reasons 
for vetoing a bill which had been passed by Congress for the District 
of Columbia to which Congress held the same relationship as the state 
legislature to a state. He reiterated what he had written me and told 
me before, that he was not opposed to local option on the liquor ques- 
tion or to state-wide prohibition under favorable conditions; that he 
had not given thorough study to national prohibition, but thought that 
it presented some grave problems. He added, however, that he did not 
think that he should inject himself into a fight for a prohibition con- 
stitutional amendment, either for or against it, and that he did not 
expect to do so, that the responsibility for submitting the resolution rested 
upon Congress without any approval by the President and the final 
ratification rested with the states. 

I was satisfied when I left him that he would sign the District Pro- 
hibition Bill, and when I gave Senator Martin the details of our conversa- 
tion, he expressed his own conviction to the same effect. In this second 
interview with President Wilson I was impressed, as before, that while 
he was a man with strong convictions on great fundamental questions, 
which convictions had been wrought into his very mental and moral 
being, he was essentially a fair-minded man, believing fully in hearing 
and weighing both sides of a question. Having heard both sides of the 
question of the District Prohibition Bill, he signed the bill [on March 
3, 1917], and thus greatly disappointed the liquor element in Congress, 
which believed that he would veto the bill, which would surely kill it. 

On April 6, having called Congress in extra session, President Wilson 
read his celebrated war message. In the House the two parties were al- 
most equal in number. There was an overwhelming dry majority in 
the House, both on the Democratic and on the Republican side, a com- 
bined majority, as we believed from our record, of two-thirds. But when 



the Democratic caucus met to outline the program of legislation to be 
considered during the extra session, and prohibition was included as 
one of the items, certain of the wet element, notably from Boston, left 
the caucus and served notice that they would not vote with the Dem- 
ocrats to organize the House if prohibition should be included in the 
program. They were determined that the Democratic party should not 
officially declare for prohibition, and were willing to go to the length 
of allowing the Republicans to organize the House in order to carry 
their point. 

As all the policies of the administration were involved, a compromise 
was finally effected, and it was agreed upon that the House would not 
initiate any legislation, except that recommended by the President or 
the departments of the government. Thus it became impossible to orig- 
inate any prohibition legislation in the House, notwithstanding the 
overwhelming prohibition majority in that body. So the battleground 
was transferred of necessity to the Senate. 

When the Selective Draft Army Bill reached the Senate, our com- 
mittee had already taken up with the President and the Secretary of 
War the matter of the protection of the enlisted men. I did not per- 
sonally have any interview with the Secretary of War, Mr. [Newton D.] 
Baker, on that point, but I did with the President, and found him entirely 
sympathetic with the plan to prohibit the sale of intoxicants to soldiers in 
uniform, and to protect the soldiers from the red-light districts of the 
cities, and from vicious and immoral influences. When the bill passed 
the Senate containing those protective amendments, I knew that it had 
the support of the administration. 

When it reached the conference committee, a bitter and persistent 
fight was made upon those items. Fitzgerald of New York and Kahn 
of California, two of the conferees of the House, refused to agree to these 
amendments, declaring in a statement to the public press that they were 
an insult to the manhood of the army. However, as the four other con- 
ferees favored the amendment, the bill was favorably reported, including 
the amendments, and was passed by both Houses of Congress. 8 Several 
months later the Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Josephus Daniels, 
made a request of Congress that these protective provisions of the bill 

8. The Selective Service Act, approved May 18, 1917, contained the following provisions 
on the liquor question: the president was authorized to make regulations necessary to 
prohibit the sale of alcoholic liquors in or near military camps and to officers and en- 
listed men, and it was made illegal to sell intoxicating liquor (including beer and wine) 
to any member of the military forces while in uniform. 

The Secretary of War was instructed to do everything he deemed necessary to prevent 
the maintenance of brothels near military installations (Statutes at Large, XL, 82-83). 


be made to apply to the Navy as well as to the Army, and no man was 
bold enough to raise his voice in protest. 

The next great battle was on the food bill. The President appealed 
to Congress to pass a Food Conservation Bill for the purpose of eliminat- 
ing waste and preventing hoarding and exorbitant prices. Immediately 
after the declaration of war the prices of foodstuffs, including flour, went 
up steadily from day to day. 

I was in Washington practically all the time for several months, ex- 
cept when necessary to go to Richmond, Blackstone, or Lake Junaluska 
for absolutely imperative work. In the midst of this legislative work I 
was obliged to prepare the catalogue for Blackstone College for the year 
1917-1918. The boarding rates were very low at the college, and any large 
increase in price of food supplies would largely affect the rates printed 
in the catalogue. In order to be absolutely safe, I very promptly pur- 
chased three carloads of flour at the prevailing price — at that time, I 
think, $10.20 per barrel. I knew these three carloads would care for the 
needs of the college for the next two months, and for the coming year 
even with a large increase of boarding pupils. 

The Executive Committee of the college said that it could not furnish 
the money to buy and hold that much flour. I therefore told the com- 
mittee that I would be personally responsible for the purchase of the 
flour, and so confident was I of the correctness of my judgment that I 
told the committee that if the price of flour declined, I would meet 
whatever loss was involved, and if the price of flour increased, and the 
flour should be sold, I would agree that whatever amount of profit was 
made should be applied toward the liquidation of the indebtedness of 
the college to me, which, as the books of the college indicated, was 
about $10,000. 

In less than thirty days after I purchased the flour, Mr. Herbert 
Hoover, who had been called to the United States to head up the Food 
Conservation Department of the Government, appeared before the 
Committee on Agriculture of the House and asked for the passage of 
a food bill which would effectually eliminate waste and prevent hoarding 
and speculation in foodstuffs. The next day the Lever Food Conserva- 
tion Bill was introduced in the House. I realized at once that there was 
no further danger of shortage of food supplies, and immediately sold 
the flour which I had bought, realizing, as I recall, a profit on the sale 
of approximately $1300, about $2.00 per barrel. This amount was credited 
upon the balance due me by the college. 

This flour episode was simply an incident relating to the business of 
the college, which I considered then, and consider now, to have been 



simply a matter of prudent management, protecting the interests of the 
college in the issuance of its catalogue for the coming year. The purchase 
and the sale were both made, and the transaction entirely concluded, 
three months before the passage of the Lever Food Conservation Bill. 
Only a prejudiced, vindictive mind would ever have endeavored to 
make it to be an evidence of moral obliquity on my part. Concerning 
this more will be written in connection with the 1928 Anti-Smith cam- 
paign. 9 

The whole country was aware of the fact that the greatest waste in 
foodstuffs was the manufacture of grain and other food materials into 
malt, vinous, and distilled liquors, and that any real Conservation Food 
Bill should prohibit absolutely the further manufacture [use?] of such 
foodstuffs for the manufacture of intoxicants. The committee bill did not 
itself prohibit the use of foodstuffs for the manufacture of intoxicants. 
It seemed almost impossible to get the bill into the desired shape. 
Amendment after amendment was ruled out of order by the chair and 
the case seemed hopeless. But finally a motion was made to strike out 
certain parts of the bill, which motion the chair was obliged to rule in 
order. On a viva voce vote the chair declared the motion lost. On a show 
of hands the chair again declared the motion lost. But the drys persisted, 
tellers were called for, the motion was carried, and thus amended the 
Food Conservation Bill was passed by the House [on June 23, 1917], 
containing the absolute prohibition of the use of foodstuffs in the manu- 
facture of all intoxicants. 

The bill was fiercely attacked in the Senate. The wet members of the 
Finance Committee declared that it meant the loss of revenues of from 
$300,000,000 to $500,000,000, and when at last the bill reached the floor 
of the Senate the friends of the liquor interests delayed the passage of the 
bill by filibustering speeches. Finally the friends of the brewers de- 
clared that they would not allow the Food Bill to pass the Senate unless 
the prohibition of the manufacture of beer and wine was stricken from 
the bill. These threats were not made privately, but openly to those in 
charge of the legislation of the Senate and to President Wilson. The 
harvest season had already begun in some sections and was rapidly 
approaching in the great grain-growing sections. The President felt that 
the immediate passage of the bill was vital. He called the leaders of the 
Senate in counsel and was told by them that it was useless to appeal 
to the patriotism of the friends of the breweries and wineries for they 
had blatantly and brazenly declared that they would block the passage 

9. This is a reference to the use of this incident in the 1928 campaign by Senator 
Carter Glass with the apparent purpose of undermining Cannon's influence. 


of any food bill which contained any prohibition of the manufacture of 
wine and beer, thus admitting that their allegiance to wine and beer 
was greater than their allegiance to their country. 

Faced by these unpatriotic threats of the friends of beer and wine, 
Senator Martin of Virginia conferred with President Wilson and told 
him that he was well acquainted with me, the chairman of the Legisla- 
tive Committee of the Anti-Saloon League, and that he would have a 
conference with that committee concerning its attitude towards the 
passage of the bill. Our committee met in Senator Martin's office, and 
after talking with them Senator Martin called up the President over 
the telephone and outlined to him what he thought the Legislative Com- 
mittee would do, should the President make a request couched in the 
language which Senator Martin indicated. President Wilson expressed 
his appreciation to Senator Martin and assured him that he would send 
a communication as indicated to me, as chairman of the Legislative 

The President did send a communication, but it was not couched in 
such language as made it possible for the Legislative Committee to make 
a favorable response. Dr. Cherrington and I went over immediately to 
Senator Martin's office and found that he had received a copy of the 
same letter, and when we entered his office, we found him much dis- 
turbed by the letter the President had sent. We told Senator Martin that 
it was impossible for us to make satisfactory response to that letter, and 
he agreed we were right, and he stated that that was not the letter 
agreed upon in the telephone conversation. 

He immediately called up the White House, got in touch with Presi- 
dent Wilson, and told him personally and plainly that the letter sent 
was not in accordance with the agreement, that Dr. Cannon, the chair- 
man of the committee, was in his office at that time and stated that 
the committee could not take favorable action on that letter, but that he 
was sure the committee would take favorable action if a letter was sent 
as outlined in the previous telephone conversation. Senator Martin then 
stated to President Wilson exactly what he understood the agreement 
to have been and told the President that were he on the Legislative 
Committee, he would not give favorable reply to the letter received. 

President Wilson then stated to Senator Martin that he desired to 
withdraw the letter which he had sent and would send immediately such 
a letter as Senator Martin had outlined. The first letter, having been 
withdrawn, was never made public. When the second letter was re- 
ceived, the Legislative Committee met and carefully considered it. After 
consultation with our friends in the Senate, the bill was amended to 


prohibit the use of food materials for distillation, but leaving the use of 
such materials for the manufacture of beer and wine to the discretion 
of the President. 

When our correspondence with the President was first published, 
some of the extreme prohibitionists criticized the action of the Legislative 
Committee very strongly as involving the surrender of a vital principle. 
But the great mass of the prohibition people and the public generally 
thought that the committee had taken a very sane, patriotic position. 
The wet newspapers, led by the New York World, were loud in their 
denunciation of the Legislative Committee and of myself in particular. 
The World declared: 

. . . that the most significant thing, however, and the most menacing to the 
future peace and tranquillity of the Republic is the fact that a sectarian re- 
ligious minister had to be appealed to by the President of the United States 
as having more influence and power in determining the vital legislation of 
the nation than the Chief Executive! 

The reply of the Legislative Committee had gready commended 
itself to a large majority of the Senate, so that after the correspondence 
was made public, several senators announced their intention to vote for 
the resolution to submit constitutional prohibition. There was not any 
doubt in our minds but that the two-thirds vote would be secured in 
the Senate for the prohibition resolution. There was a group of senators, 
led by Senator [Warren G.] Harding of Ohio, who had been counted up- 
on by the liquor interests to oppose the resolution. These senators, how- 
ever, had little heart in their opposition. 

Senator Harding finally proposed a trade with the liquor interests 
and the Anti-Saloon League. He agreed that if a provision should be 
attached to the resolution which would limit the time allowed for rati- 
fication by the states, he would vote for the resolution. The limitation 
finally suggested was six years. Senator Harding did not believe it 
would be possible to ratify the amendment in that length of time and 
so told the liquor lobby. Mr. Wheeler was somewhat doubtful as to 
whether the time allowed would not be too short. He brought the 
proposition to me to lay before the Legislative Committee. 

I discussed the matter with Senator Harding and discovered that he 
had no special conviction for or against the Prohibition Amendment. 
He stated to me very frankly that he did not consider prohibition to be 
a moral issue, and apparently he never did so consider it. I desired the 
majority for the resolution to be as large as possible and I had no doubt 
but that the amendment would be speedily ratified. I therefore recom- 


mended the acceptance of Senator Harding's proposed amendment. 
When the vote was finally taken in the Senate on August 1, 1917, the 
resolution was adopted not by two to one, but by more than three to 
one [65 to 20], senator after senator who had been regarded as doubtful 
voting for the submission resolution. 

After the passage of the Food Conservation Bill and of the submission 
resolution by the Senate, 10 prohibition legislation came practically to an 
end during the extra session of Congress. But when the regular session 
began on Monday, December 3 [1917], the Committee on the Judiciary 
reported out the prohibition resolution favorably by a vote of 15 to 5, 
and the House fixed December 18 as the date for the consideration of 
the resolution. We were certain that we would get the necessary two- 
thirds vote, but we wanted to secure as large a vote as possible. As 
I have indicated above, President Wilson had told me positively that 
he would not take any part in the contest. Mr. Bryan was out of the 
Cabinet but was quite an influential factor, having influence with many 
members of the House. He was very active on the prohibition platform 
after his retirement from President Wilson's Cabinet, and was, I am 
sure, a sincere convert to the cause of national prohibition. We brought 
every possible influence to bear upon Congress to make the vote as large 
as possible. 

The daily press reported the one-sided battle in the House and the 
overwhelming victory of the dry forces. The vote was 282 for and 128 
against. In this final vote on the national prohibition resolution [Decem- 
ber 17, 191 7], the representatives of 24 states voted solidly for the 
measure, more than three-fourths of each congressional delegation in 
30 states voted for it, and a majority of the congressional delegation in 
36 states were recorded for its passage, and one-half or more of the 
delegation in 42 states voted for it. In the Senate both senators from 
28 states voted for the resolution, and in only four states did both senators 
vote against the resolution. 

Ratification of the proposed Prohibition Amendment to the Con- 
stitution was then the immediate work to be pressed by the National 
Legislative Committee. Dr. Wheeler thought that it would require a 
great deal of campaigning and that it might take several years. Other 
League leaders were quite uncertain as to how long a time would be 

10. The Food Conservation Bill (1917) contained the following provision which re- 
lated to the liquor question: the President was authorized to limit or prohibit the use 
of foods or fruits for the production of malt or vinous liquors -for beverage purposes, 
whenever these foods or fruits were found essential for the national defense {Statutes at 
Large, XL, 276-287). 


required for final ratification. Studying carefully the list of the state 
legislatures which would meet within the next two years, I stated that 
I thought the amendment would be ratified in two years or less. But 
even I was not prepared for the enthusiasm which the dry people mani- 
fested throughout the nation. The first act of the Mississippi Legislature 
was to ratify the Prohibition Amendment on January 8, 191 8. I was 
glad that Virginia ratified almost immediately upon the meeting of the 
legislature in January, 191 8, and the votes of these two Southern states 
were followed very quickly by the votes of Kentucky and South Caro- 
lina. The necessary three-fourths was finally secured on January 16, 
1919, and national prohibition, therefore, went into effect on January 16, 

VII. 1918 

n i ii 1 1 mi i in i ii 1 1 111 1 ii ■ 111 1 1 111 iiimiiiiuii ill mi 1 1 iiiii 111 illinium mill iminiiiiiiiiiiiiiimmmiii 

During the latter part of 1917, the bulk o£ the regular Army and 
some of the men enlisted under the Selective Draft Act sailed for 
France. Reports came back from various sources concerning the un- 
favorable conditions which the soldiers were facing as to the sale of in- 
toxicating liquors and from prostitution and vice. From many sections 
of the country protests came to the Anti-Saloon League headquarters in 
Washington demanding that some action be taken to secure the utmost 
possible protection for the sailors and soldiers who had gone out from 
our homes in dry territory and protected areas to the poorly controlled 
sale of intoxicants and to the open, uncontrolled vice and prostitution in 
England and France. As chairman of the Legislative Committee, I laid 
the matter before President Wilson and he recommended that I see 
Secretary of War Baker and Secretary of the Navy Daniels. This I did, 
and reported back to the Executive Committee of the Anti-Saloon 
League that both Secretary Baker and Secretary Daniels were willing to 
appoint two men selected by the Anti-Saloon League leaders to go to 
Europe and to make a thorough investigation, and make a report to the 
two secretaries of their findings. 

The government did not make any appropriation for expenses, but 
did promise thorough co-operation on the part of the War and Navy 
Departments in Washington, including such letters to General Pershing, 
Admiral Sims, the Honorable Walter H. Page, Minister to Great 
Britain, and the Honorable William G. Sharpe, Minister to France, as 
would enable us to do the work under most favorable conditions. 

Dr. E. J. Moore of Ohio, 1 then Assistant General Superintendent of 
the Anti-Saloon League, and I were requested by the Anti-Saloon League 
committee to act as the two commissioners. 

I returned home at once from Washington to confer with my wife 
concerning this important and somewhat dangerous work. . . . 

. . . My wife and I having decided that I ought to go, I took up the 

i.Edward Jay Moore (1863-1935) was pastor in the Methodist Episcopal Church and 
active in Anti-Saloon work in Missouri. He served as Assistant General Superintendent 
of the Anti-Saloon League of America, 1916-1925. 


matter with the trustees of Blackstone College. While reluctant for me 
to be absent for so long, yet the Executive Committee desired that I 
should do the work and granted me leave of absence. Letters from 
Secretaries Baker and Daniels and proper passports having been given 
us, we sailed from New York on the Carmcmia in February, 191 8. 

When I went to France in 191 3, the trip from New York to Cher- 
bourg on the then palatial Olympic was made in less than seven days. 
No passport was required. The bill of fare was equal to that of the 
most expensive hotels. The band played on the deck every night, and 
the ship gleamed with light from end to end. 

But in February, 191 8, the government had fixed most stringent re- 
quirements on the passports, and no one was permitted to take up space 
on the ship unless on most important business. No one was allowed to 
come on the ship without a passport. The passengers were under strict 
regulations. All windows and portholes were closed tight at night. 
Matches could not be struck or cigars or cigarettes smoked on deck, and 
in the danger zone no one was permitted on deck after dark. Boat 
drills were a daily occurrence without any notice until the whistle blew, 
and in danger zones life preservers were required to be worn on deck, 
at meals, and in staterooms, except when asleep, and then passengers 
were advised to sleep with their clothes on, and with life preservers in - 
the berth. 

No intoxicants could be purchased by any officer or private. The 
bill of fare, while furnishing ample nourishment, gave little variety and 
few dainties. Religious services on Sunday were attended, and after the 
first few days I was asked to conduct the services every morning. Our 
ship was one of a convoy of eight transports, carrying all-told about 
thirty thousand men, with an armored cruiser in the lead from the time 
we left Halifax until the last three days of the voyage, and then eight 
torpedo boats appeared, and surrounding us on every side carried 
us through the danger zone to the mouth of the Mersey. We landed 
at Liverpool on the sixteenth day of sailing, nine days longer than was 
required for the trip in 1913. 

There were on our ship over twenty-two hundred doctors and nurses. 
Nearly everyone on board belonged to the Medical Corps. When I 
preached the second Sunday morning, after conducting daily short serv- 
ices during the week, much to my surprise the dining room was crowded. 
I remember that I preached in realistic fashion on the text "There is no 
discharge in that war." After the service one of the commanding officers 
asked me if I would preach again at night, as so many could not get 
in to the morning service. Of course, I gladly consented to do this and 

EUROPE, 1918 


preached at night on one of my favorite texts— "He [Benaiah] also went 
down and slew a lion in a pit on a snowy day." While there was no 
attitude of fear, yet there was a very clear recognition that the war was 
not simply an exciting adventure, but a call to service which could not 
be denied. We had been obliged to wait in Halifax Harbor for some 
other ships of the convoy to come in, and we there had a picture before 
us of what war really meant, for the entire waterfront of Halifax was 
in a heap of ruins, having been devastated by an explosion, from what 
source has never yet been discovered. 2 

The war was in the latter part of the fourth year when I arrived in 
England the first of March, 191 8, and external changes were many. At 
the Liverpool docks porters had formerly besieged passengers to carry 
their baggage. Now only elderly men were in service, and I was obliged 
to hunt up a porter and engage him to come after he had handled the 
bags of three other men. On the tram cars and omnibuses young women 
were collecting fares and occasionally driving the cars. In the hotels 
and restaurants women were in charge from the manager's desk down 
to the bell girls. Wages had greatly increased in every department of 
service; some two or three times as much. As in the United States, this 
increase had been much greater among those who worked for day wages 
than for the white-collar class. While rent, fuel, clothing, and food were 
much higher, yet the English workingmen had more money in propor- 
tion than ever before. This [was] true also of the wives of many soldiers 
who, receiving the pay allowances of their husbands, began to frequent 
public houses (saloons) and to squander their pay. The papers em- 
phasized that there had been many sad cases of homes destroyed by the 
folly of wives whose husbands were absent in the Army. . . . 

In March, 191 8, the people, while they had not become reconciled, 
had learned to accept discomfort, privations, sufferings and sorrow, and 
even death, as inevitable. And they faced the naked facts of war in a 
quiet calmness which might have been taken for indifference, until one 
pierced below the surface and found that it was an invincible deter- 
mination to endure until the end that Great Britain might be saved. . . . 

I realized that the people both in England and France had suffered 
severely from nervous strain, owing to their proximity to the conflict 
even when the battles had not been fought in their own territory, as 

2. On December 6, 1917, a munitions ship, the Mont Blanc, blew up after colliding 
with a Belgian relief ship, the Imo. Although enemy aliens were suspected, a government 
inquiry and trial seemed to result in the conclusion that either a misunderstanding of 
signals or improper routing of the ships was responsible (London Times, Dec. 8 and 17, 
1917, and February 5, March 16, 20, and 22, 1918). 


has been the case in eastern France. To live in the possible line of 
march of great armies is a dangerous and trying experience. When I 
reached England and France, the reports as to the conduct of the Ger- 
man soldiers were horrifying in the extreme. Refugees from Belgium 
and northeastern France had carried to England and other parts of 
France their stories of their treatment by the German soldiers. It is 
difficult to get at the actual truth as to the destruction and the outrages 
which followed the march of the German Army. But when I arrived 
in England, the fear of what they considered to be a brute beast crouch- 
ing for another great spring was upon both England and France. Russia 
had fallen. 

The United States had come into the war not quite a year before, 
but our Army was still small; not over 300,000 fighting men all told 
had come across by March 1. The British and French people realized 
that the crisis of the war had come. Would the Allied Armies be strong 
enough to hold back the enemy till the American Army could be trained 
and successfully transported? The atmosphere was tense with the strain 
of the suspense of a nation whose heart was with its soldiers on the fields 
of France. But there was no weeping, no giving away to fear and de-^ 
spondency. Every public utterance in the press, in the pulpit, in the 
House of Commons, on every platform, small and great, called upon the 
people to pledge themselves anew, to give labor, money, sons, husbands, 
and themselves that England should continue to be free and not under 
German rule; or, as one splendid woman expressed it in conversation 
with me, "What would life be worth to me and mine under German 
domination?" And this determination to throw everything into the 
breech and to lose everything fighting rather than to live under German 
rule was characteristic of the people in both England and France. 

In seeking for facts for the special report (which I was commissioned 
to make to Secretaries Baker and Daniels) concerning moral conditions 
surrounding our soldiers and sailors in Great Britain and France, my 
natural allies were Ambassador Page and General Secretary R. L. Ewing 
of the Y.M.C.A. in England, General Pershing, Ambassador Sharpe, 
and General Secretary E. C. Carter of the Y.M.C.A. in France. Upon 
presentation of my letters of introduction from Secretaries Baker and 
Daniels I was cordially received by all of these officials and assured of 
their full and sympathetic co-operation. Through Mr. Ewing I met a 
number of the Free Church leaders, Drs. Wiseman, Myers, Young, 
Griffith-Jones, Horton, Holden, Selbie, and especially Dr. Fort Newton 
and Dr. John Clifford. All of these Free Church leaders appreciated 

EUROPE, 1918 


the solicitude of American fathers and mothers for the conditions which 
would surround their sons in Great Britain and France. 

While the King and Prime Minister and many British leaders de- 
clared for total abstinence during the war, Free Churchmen were disap- 
pointed because the British government had not decreed the prohibition 
of the manufacture and the sale of all intoxicants. At one time in the 
early stages of the war such prohibition seemed probable, immediately 
following the King's total-abstinence declaration. It was also emphasized 
that the continued waste of foodstuffs in the manufacture of intoxicants 
was without any adequate excuse. I told these Free Church leaders that 
I held that the governments of Great Britain and France should be asked 
to issue an order forbidding the sale of all forms of intoxicants to Ameri- 
can sailors and soldiers in uniform, perpetuating in the war zone the 
same regulations which obtained in the American training camps. I also 
emphasized that the American Congress had prohibited absolutely the 
use of foodstuffs for distillation and were on strict rations in order to 
send to Great Britain 75,000,000 bushels of wheat, which Lord Rhondda, 
Food Controller of Great Britain, had called for. I insisted that if the 
American people could deny themselves in order to help win the war 
the British people should do likewise. 

I had lengthy conversations with Lord Rhondda, Food Controller, 
Lord D'Abernon, chairman of the Liquor Control Board, Mr. Asquith, 
and Prime Minister Lloyd George. Lord Rhondda was deeply impressed 
with the facts I presented, but that very day went to the hospital, where 
in a short time he died. Lord D'Abernon stated that he thought if the 
United States government should officially request the British govern- 
ment to prohibit the sale of intoxicants to our soldiers, the request would 
be granted. The French government made a somewhat similar state- 
ment, but not as positively as did Lord D'Abernon. 

The next day in a conference . . . concerning the attitude of the 
English leaders on the liquor question, . . . [Mr. Herbert H. Asquith, 
former Prime Minister] said that Great Britain would respond to any 
reasonable request from the United States as far as our own soldiers 
were concerned, but that he doubted whether the government would go 
any further than it had gone in the restrictions of the Liquor Control 
Board. He was weighed down with great personal sorrow, as well as 
with patriotic solicitude, and he said to me with grave solemnity, "My 
oldest son has been killed in action; my second son is now in the hospital 
severely wounded; my third and last son is now on the battlefront in 
France." He said that he realized the difficulties which beset President 
Wilson in bringing a great nation into the war without clear and ample 


justification; that he had hoped, however, for more than a year that 
the manifest spirit and aim of the German leaders would have made it 
clear to the American people that the defeat of Great Britain and France 
would have been exceedingly hurtful to the United States. 

The Free Church Council met shortly after my arrival in England 
and it gave me the unusual opportunity to hear expressions from the 
leaders of the Free Church bodies. They were exceedingly courteous to 
me and gave me a place on the platform and a few minutes to bring 
the greetings of the American churches. The most interesting session 
was that at which the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, made a stir- 
ring address praising the Free Churches for their undivided co-operation 
and full of the spirit of optimism of the final outcome now that "Amer- 
ica had come in." I was impressed that, while carrying a tremendous 
load of responsibility for varied forms of activity in the war, the Prime 
Minister gave the impression of serious optimism, and of still untapped 
physical, mental, and spiritual resources. 

Dr. John Clifford, in many respects the outstanding Nonconformist 
of England, was much impressed with my argument that Great Britain 
could not expect the United States to continue to practice self-denial in 
order to ship 75,000,000 bushels of wheat to England while England was 
wasting millions of bushels of foodstuffs in the manufacture of intoxi- 
cants. He insisted, therefore, that I should lay the matter before the 
Prime Minister, and he made an appointment for us at 10 Downing 

I was greatly interested to go into the house in which Gladstone, 
Balfour, Salisbury, Asquith, and Lloyd George had guided the destinies 
of the British Empire. I do not think anyone but Dr. Clifford could 
have secured thirty minutes of the Prime Minister's time, but Lloyd 
George regarded Dr. Clifford as a great Nonconformist hero, and he 
treated us with the greatest respect. There was no haste nor any touch 
of antagonism to my statements. He listened, asked questions, agreed 
that the argument could not be successfully answered, but that he feared 
it would be hurtful to agitate the question, unless and until the United 
States government made a direct demand. My contact with Lloyd 
George at close range made me realize his amazing vitality, mental 
alertness, and sympathetic attitude towards moral issues. 

During my conference with Admiral Sims it was disclosed to me that 
the greater part of the American fleet was stationed in the waters east of 
Northern Scotland, and that he would like for me to visit the fleet and 
meet with the officers. I, therefore, went to Inverness and then to the 
small town of Allness, where I preached on Sunday to a large group of 

EUROPE, 1918 


the officers in the morning and to the men at night. The conditions sur- 
rounding the fleet were practically ideal from the moral standpoint. 
The officers with whom I conferred agreed that the American standards 
should be made applicable as far as possible to the sailors in European 

I do not think I have ever experienced as penetrating cold as on that 
trip in the middle of March to the north of Scotland. The thermometer 
was not so low, but the air was damp and cold and penetrated to the 
joints and marrow. I wore two suits of underwear, usual white shirt, 
heavy coat and vest, heavy woolen sweater, heavy overcoat, and heavy 
raincoat, about as much clothing as I could carry around, but I shivered 
and was uncomfortable all the time. The hotel where I stopped was a 
picture of neatness and comfort, except for the cold. It had one large 
fire in the fireplace in the dining room, and no provision for heat any- 
where else in the house, which was built of gray stone. The bedroom 
contained everything necessary for comfort except heat, and when I 
stated that I would have to go downstairs and sleep in front of the fire 
the proprietor said that he would put three pigs in my bed, and brought 
up three brown stone jugs full of boiling hot water, surrounded by which 
I managed to get through the night, but was always awakened in the 
morning by cold, thoroughly chilled nose and ears. These Scotchmen in 
the north surely do "endure hardness," and splendid characters have 
been produced, but it is a raw, unsupportable climate for those who 
have not been used to it from their youth up. . . . 3 

The night before I was scheduled to go to Paris I was walking along 
the streets of London, darkened through fear of German night air raids. 
I was down at Ludgate Circus and my hotel was up on Russell Square, 
many blocks away. I heard the alarm sound, and flashlights began to 
play across the sky, and the air guns set up a ceaseless racket. I knew 
that the "terror by night" German Zeppelins were making an air raid 
and would throw their death-dealing bombs upon an unfortified city 
to destroy noncombatants, including old men and mothers and children. 
Immediately there was a rush in the streets for the cellars, and the poor 
people in the tenements, mothers with infants in arms, small children 
clinging to their skirts, hurried to the stations of the underground rail- 
ways. I heard the explosion of the bombs falling upon the houses of 
sleeping people, and the incessant rattle of the air guns driving the 
Zeppelins away. I hastened as rapidly as I could, darting in and out of 
doorways, more afraid of the falling missiles of the aircraft guns than 

3. The omitted portion here consists of a description of some of Lady Astor's activities 
during the war. 



of the bombs from the Zeppelins. I read in the paper the next morning 
that six tenement houses had been destroyed and about sixty people had 
been killed, most of them in their beds. This barbarous, inhuman 
species of warfare was employed by the Germans as one factor in their 
determined efforts to break down the morale of the Allies before any 
considerable number of our troops could reach France. 

I found that owing to the intensive submarine warfare by the boats 
of the Germans, my crossing to France would have to be postponed until 
the following day, and that then it would be necessary to go by way 
of Southampton to Le Havre, taking the risk of the torpedoes. I crossed 
to Le Havre safely, and went immediately on to Paris. 

The next day I was sitting in the office of General Lewis, at the 
Paris headquarters of the American Army in Rue St. Anne, discussing 
with him the purpose of my mission, when a shell exploded, it seemed 
to me, across the street. The shock was so great that I sprang involun- 
tarily from my chair, but General Lewis was apparently unaffected and 
sent his aide to find out what had happened. He returned shortly and 
reported that a shell from the seventy-five-mile long-range German gun 
had struck the church at St. Gervais, causing the falling in of the roof, 
with the resultant death of ninety persons and the wounding of seventy- 
five more. Owing to the fact that it was Good Friday the church was 
full of worshipers. Two days later a shell from the same gun fell in a 
maternity hospital and killed several women with their babes in their 
arms. Day after day from that time on until I left the city, shells from 
this long gun fell at intervals of thirty minutes into the city of Paris, an 
unfortified city, with no guns or armies in it, a city full of people en- 
gaging in peaceful pursuits of life. 

No one could tell where the next shell would fall, or who would be 
the victim, but the certainty that a shell would fall every half hour 
somewhere was nerve-racking to thousands of people. This violation by 
the German government through its air, army, and navy forces of all 
ideas of fair play, decency, and common humanity outraged the nations 
of the world. No apologies can defend this "frightfulness." This reck- 
less, outrageous effort was made to break the morale of the Allied nations 
before any considerable number of our troops could reach France. 

Upon my arrival in Paris, I promptly called upon the American am- 
bassador, the Honorable William G. Sharpe, stating the purpose of my 
mission, and receiving a very cordial promise of co-operation. The next 
day I had a conference with General Pershing, who gave me copies of all 
the statements which he had made and the general orders which he had 
issued. He was thoroughly conversant with the purpose of my mission, 

EUROPE, 1918 201 

and appreciated the need for drastic regulations to protect our enlisted 
troops. On February 15, 191 8, General Pershing had addressed a letter 
to the Chief -of -Staflf, in which he said: 

In view of the movements of large numbers of our troops to England I 
have requested the British authorities to assist us in every way in preserving 
the morals and good health of our troops in their camps. I have called their 
attention to the absolute prohibition against strong drink in force in the 
United States to all officers and soldiers in uniform, and asked their as- 
sistance in applying this as far as consistent with their own laws and customs 
to our troops serving with them. Many of the Colonial troops who first came 
to England suffered from the lack of discipline and the changed environ- 
ment on their arrival in Europe, and every effort must be made both at home 
and here to keep the good name the American soldiers now have both in 
England and in France. 

After I had shown him the letters from Secretaries Baker and 
Daniels, he stated that he would render me all possible assistance if I 
would let him know what I desired. On the next day, March 29, I wrote 
to him: 

Dear General Pershing: 

In accordance with our conversation on Thursday morning, March 28, 
I am enclosing in this a paper indicating some information which I need 
in order to prepare a satisfactory report. I will appreciate as full an answer 
to these inquiries as possible, and though I fully understand the exceedingly 
important matters which you have always in hand, the more quickly you 
can help me to secure this information the better results I can obtain from 
my general study of conditions. 

Thanking you for your courtesy and attention, I am, 

Yours sincerely, 

James Cannon, Jr. 

In reply to this letter General Pershing sent me a sweeping "white 
paper" which briefly but positively directed that all members of the 
American Expeditionary Force, officers or enlisted men, should give to 
me any information which I might request which did not pertain to 
military movements or strategy. Armed with this authority I was re- 
ceived everywhere by officers and men with courtesy, not to say cordiality. 
Some of the officers expressed surprise that such a sweeping order 
should have been issued, but none of them refused to give the desired 

General Pershing's letter to the Chief -of-Staff quoted above is an 
admirable condensation, and states important facts in a few words. It 
indicates his great desire as Commander-in-Chief of the American forces 



to protect the men under his command. Located as these men had been 
in the cantonments in the United States, protected as no army has ever 
been protected from the assaults of the dramseller and the harlot, 
strengthened by the recreational, entertaining, social, educational, and 
religious influences furnished by the Y.M.C.A., the Y.W.C.A., and the 
new force of chaplains coming directly from the active ministry, the 
world never saw a large army marshaled and trained under such in- 
fluences with such high standards. No army has ever been assembled 
in the United States or in any other country as free from drunkenness 
and vice as the army which our country sent to Europe. This did not 
mean that putting on a uniform necessarily changed a man's attitude 
towards life, his passions, his tempers, his appetites, or that it changed 
a sinner into a saint. It does mean that the American Army as trained 
and sent to France showed a higher average of efficiency and morality 
than any other army the world has ever seen. 

But the change in environment referred to by General Pershing was 
very great. Coming from training camps in America, free from vice 
and drink, they were landed at seaports in foreign countries where 
practically no restriction was placed upon immorality or the sale of in- 
toxicants. Prostitutes from houses inspected and licensed by the state, 
"street walkers" and women of easy virtue swarmed after the American 
soldiers and sailors, especially in London and Paris. 

The appeal made in circulars from American Army headquarters 
to all American soldiers "to practice sexual abstinence as it is practiced 
by great college athletic teams" not only had no active support in Army 
circles in Great Britain and France, but was regarded in many quarters 
as a species of idealism, bordering on Puritanical fanaticism, and as an 
unjustifiable infringement upon the personal liberty of the soldiers, who, 
it was openly declared by many prominent men, and by women also, 
should be given the opportunity to indulge their appetites, if they so 
desired, in view of the great sacrifices they were making. Indeed, the 
French idea went so far as to propose that medically inspected women be 
furnished for the American soldiers that they might be guaranteed op- 
portunity for "safe" sexual indulgence, and thus might be made more 
contented with their lot. 

This attitude toward immorality is directly in accord with the at- 
titude toward the use of intoxicants. Intoxicants are sold practically 
everywhere in France down to the smallest country villages. They are 
sold in restaurants, hotels, grocery and provision shops, as well as in 
distinctive wine shops and cafes. For example, General Scott told me 

EUROPE, 1918 203 

that in the city of Bordeaux there were approximately twenty-five hun- 
dred places where intoxicants were illegally sold. 

In discussing this matter a French official, who was very sympathetic, 
said: "Why, of course, we want to do anything we can that America 
wants done." When I told him what we had done, that in Washington, 
the capital of our nation, it was unlawful to sell intoxicating liquors, he 
said: "Yes, I have heard of that." But when I added that that included 
wine, champagne, and beer, he threw up his hands and said: "It is im- 
possible!" Sympathetic as he was, it was difficult for him to understand 
the viewpoint. 

In my investigation of conditions I went to Brest, St. Nazaire, Tours, 
Dijon, Lyons, Aix-les-Bains, and Bordeaux, and went into the front 
lines of the army, the advanced section of which was in the neighbor- 
hood of Toul. At all these places I called for the official records of 
drunkenness and venereal disease, which records emphasized the reasons 
for the general orders which General Pershing issued. In General Order 
No. 6 he emphasized the vital necessity that each member of the Ameri- 
can Expeditionary Force maintain himself in the best physical condition. 
The permanent injury and inefficiency resulting from venereal diseases 
was strongly emphasized and it was ordered that all men contracting 
such disease should be court-martialed and severely punished. Two 
months later, in General Order No. 34, General Pershing said: "With 
this in view it is encumbent upon all officers, soldiers and civilians at- 
tached to the American Expeditionary Force to insure temperance, and 
to prevent the ravages of venereal diseases with their disabling con- 

On November 15, 191 7, a circular was issued to all members of the 
American Expeditionary Force in which the kernel of Orders 6 and 34 
was stated in brief compass and the following strong paragraph was 
added: "Venereal diseases have made terrible ravages in the armies and 
civilian population. The danger is greater now than ever before. Syphi- 
lis is particularly prevalent. The cleanest woman is often the worst in- 
fected. The only absolute safety is absolute abstinence." 

Conditions did not improve in the larger towns and cities, especially 
in the seaports; so General Pershing issued General Order No. 77, de- 
voted entirely to the subjects of intemperance and venereal disease. All 
commanding officers are directed to give personal attention to the en- 
forcement of the order, and "no laxity or half-hearted effort in this 
regard will be tolerated." Instructions are given "to locate by the Mili- 
tary Secret Service the houses, rooms, or apartments in sections of towns 
occupied by women engaged in prostitution, and all such places will be 


considered 'of? limits'. Should men return to camp in intoxicated condi- 
tion, they will be seized by the guards and taken to a prophylactic station 
where treatments will be administered." 

General W. S. Scott, in command of the Bordeaux area, issued sweep- 
ing orders, stating that in future any officer found on the street or in a 
cafe with a prostitute would be court-martialed for disgracing the uni- 
form of the United States Army. "American officers, soldiers, or civilian 
employees are forbidden to drink, purchase, or receive as gifts whiskey, 
brandy, champagne, or other alcoholic beverages, except light wines and 
beer. The continued violation of the laws of morality and decency and 
drinking and violations of orders by officers, soldiers and civilian em- 
ployees necessitates [the] stringent methods of this order." 

Shortly before I went to Bordeaux General Scott addressed a long 
letter to General Hallouin, the French General in charge of the region 
around Bordeaux, on the subject of "prostitution and intemperance." 
The letter quoted the paragraphs in General Pershing's General Orders 
relating to prostitution and intemperance, and then added: 

It has, however, been found that the spread of venereal disease is reaching 
a percentage larger than can well be ignored. An effort has been made to 
improve these conditions, but with little success. In conformity with General 
Pershing's orders, all houses of prostitution have been placed "off limits" for 
American officers, soldiers and civilian employees and our guards are attempt- 
ing to enforce this. A very difficult feature arises where women on the street 
are soliciting prostitution, and this is the most difficult feature to handle — 
my object in writing this letter is to ask the co-operation of the French officials. 

This letter of General Scott's indicates the great difficulty which the 
commanding generals had in controlling prostitution and intemperance 
in France. Conditions became so bad in Paris that finally no leave of 
absence was granted to men and officers to visit Paris, except under ex- 
ceptional circumstances. Leave areas were established in smaller French 

The above leads me to emphasize what I stated some years later 
before the committee of the House of Representatives. It was difficult to 
give an estimate of the French people during the war without using 
extravagant language concerning their virtues and touching compara- 
tively lightly upon their faults. They remind one somewhat of Esau and 
of the Prodigal Son. They have a passionate devotion to France. They 
are brave, daring, tragic, almost spectacular. They are equal to any form 
of sacrifice, rushing fearlessly, almost recklessly, in the jaws of certain 
death, bearing with unbroken fortitude the strain of years of war. But 
while recognizing their virtues, the great difference in the standards of 

EUROPE, 1918 205 

the United States and France before the war on some exceedingly vital 
matters cannot be ignored. 

The American generals emphasized American standards on the mat- 
ter of intemperance and prostitution, and endeavored to save our soldiers 
from the evil consequences of both. The French authorities, including 
many of the generals in the Army, could not understand the emphasis 
placed by General Pershing, General Scott, and other commanding of- 
ficers upon liquor-drinking and sexual indulgence. The history of 
French kings and the nobility generally has accustomed the French 
people to the idea of openly acknowledged mistresses of kings, nobles, 
and common people. While French family life has had some excellent 
features, yet the practically universal acceptance of the idea of the mis- 
tress and the prostitute has resulted in giving to France probably the 
largest illegitimate birth rate to be found in any civilized nation. 
Arthur Brisbane, who was in no sense a purist, in one of his paragraphs 
written shortly before his death, said: 

The French people are disturbed because one-fifth of all the births in 
France at present are illegitimate births. According to the Paris newspaper, 
Le Jour, of 41,000 [sic] births in France last year, 9,000, more than one-fifth of 
the total, were illegitimate. One radical French gentleman insists that the 
French Government ought to do something about this, and the Angel 
Gabriel probably agrees with him. 

This attitude toward sexual life has doubtless been emphasized by 
the continued alcoholization of the French people from childhood. The 
continued use of alcohol has a direct effect upon the sexual nature. No 
less authority than Mussolini called upon the Italian people to drink 
more wine because the effects of wine-drinking was to increase the nat- 
ural activities resulting in the birth of more children for Italy. 

There is no question in my mind but that the French standards 
concerning drinking and sexuality had a great influence upon the Amer- 
ican Expeditionary Force as a whole. The usual French attitude was 
emphasized not only in France, but to some extent in Great Britain also 
by the idea that men who were running the risk of maiming or death 
should be given such indulgence as they desired. American social life 
has been tremendously influenced by the contact of two million or more 
young Americans with the young men and women of France. 

I found much interest among the soldiers in religious services, espe- 
cially when conducted by chaplains who lived and stayed with the men 
in the trenches and on the front line of battle. I was privileged to 
preach a number of times, both on weekdays and Sundays, and there 



was always good attendance and good attention. The chaplains of the 
Army, headed up by Bishop Charles H. Brent and Mr. W. R. Moody, 
were carefully selected, and generally rendered efficient service. Some of 
the outstanding men in American church life preached in the Y.M.C.A. 
huts, mess halls, and other places to large and serious-minded groups 
of soldiers. Probably no army ever had more earnest, helpful, Christian 
chaplains, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, than did our army on 
the fields of France. 

It was one of the duties of the chaplains to bury the dead killed in 
action, and one day I saw a cemetery right in the midst of the area of 
conflict. I was over in the Toul section and, accompanied by a lieutenant, 
I had gone to the extreme limit of the American line to inspect a num- 
ber of dugouts which had been captured by our troops. Some of them 
were quite remarkable by the way in which they had been furnished and 
made habitable, almost as though for permanent occupancy. As I went 
along through the trenches I looked across the barbed-wire entangle- 
ment and saw an American flag. I got up out of the trench and with the 
lieutenant walked over to where the flag was flying, and when I came to 
it, there were twenty-three graves of American boys dug right there on 
the battlefield by the chaplain, who had put a marker carefully over each 
man's grave so that when the war was over, if the tide of battle had not 
swept over the field and wiped them away, the identity of every grave 
would be known. I could but uncover my head and then and there 
offer a prayer for the homes from which these boys had come, never to 
return. And yet, as I believed then, and I believe now, these American 
boys hoped that they were in a war to end war, and that they had 
given their lives hoping that the world might be safe not only for 
democracy but for righteousness. 

Later on I saw several of these small cemeteries in the very lines of 
battle. My own son, James Cannon III, who at the age of twenty-six 
was appointed Division Chaplain of the First Division, was cited for 
bravery and given the Croix de Guerre for marching with his troops 
in the front line of battle and burying the dead of his regiment under 
the constant fire of the enemy. 

Having remained with the army as long as it was possible if I were 
to reach home in time to attend the General Conference in 1918, I re- 
turned to Paris and wrote to General Pershing thanking him for the 
assistance which he had rendered me in the performance of the duty 
assigned me. Secretary of War Baker was in Paris at the time, and at a 
conference with him it was agreed that I would hand in my report on 
my arrival in Washington. On April 13 I went to Bordeaux and waited 

EUROPE, 1918 


there for the sailing of the French vessel Rochambeau, one of the 
poorest and slowest of the French steamers, but which, strange to say, 
had made several trips to and from New York without attack by the 
German submarines. 

Moral conditions at Bordeaux were worse than at any [other] place I 
visited in France, which was doubtless the cause of the sweeping orders 
as given by General Lewis quoted above. There were a large number of 
colored troops located in that area, and General Lewis told me that the 
French prostitutes eagerly sought out these colored troops at every pay- 
day, trying to get their money before they sent it home; that they 
frequently were found by the Military Police even in the barracks, and 
had to be forcibly ejected out of the camp. 

On April 17 the Rochambeau sailed from Bordeaux, but waited a day 
at the mouth of the Gironde River, because it was reported that for the 
first time the German torpedo boats had been seen ofT the coast. We 
went out the mouth of the river at noon and were sitting at dinner 
about 6 p.m. I had purposely gotten a seat near the door. The Rocham- 
beau was armed with cannon fore and aft to protect herself from torpedo 
boats. Suddenly the cannon in the after part of the ship began to fire. 
I rushed out quickly to the deck and over at the left a torpedo boat had 
appeared, and I saw the torpedo coming across the water. The man at 
the wheel gave the head of the ship such a sudden, sweeping turn to 
the right as to throw me violently to the deck, but I was up in time to 
see the torpedo pass harmlessly by about seventy-five feet to our right. 
The Rochambeau s guns were trained on the submarine and it speedily 
submerged, and without any further attack we reached New York 
April 29. 

After some correspondence with Dr. E. J. Moore, who had returned 
to the United States some time before I did, we made our official report 
as special commissioners to Great Britain and France to the Honorable 
Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War, and the Honorable Josephus 
Daniels, Secretary of the Navy. This report of sixteen closely printed 
pages entered quite fully into the conditions concerning intemperance 
and prostitution, giving vital facts and presenting definite recommenda- 
tions, as follows: 

1. It is recommended that the standard adopted by Congress in the 
passage of the law, prohibiting the sale of intoxicants to soldiers and sailors 
in uniform, and the practice of prostitution in the zone of military and 
naval camps be maintained for our soldiers and sailors when they leave 
the United States. General Order No. 77 should be strengthened at once by 



striking out the exemption as to light wines and beer, and prohibiting the 
purchase, possession or acceptance as a gift of all kinds of intoxicating 
liquor. It should also be made applicable to the Navy as well as to the Army. 
The sweeping order of General Scott for the Bordeaux Base, which pro- 
hibits any officer or man to be in the company of a woman of immoral 
character, on the street, in a cafe or in any room or house of assignation, 
or prostitution, should be extended to apply to all American soldiers and 
sailors. The violation of this order would subject the offender to court- 
martial and punishment as provided in General Order No. 77, and the 
officers should be given to understand that they will be held responsible for 
the strict enforcement of this order. 

There should be no hesitation and no delay in issuing this order, and 
in passing this legislation, for the prompt taking of such action will prevent 
the formation of wine-drinking habits by American soldiers and sailors, 
and the purchase of strong liquors under the cloak of the wine bottle, and 
would result in a still greater reduction in sexual vice. 

2. It is recommended that the American government, either through 
the Department of State or through the military and naval authorities, re- 
quest the governments of Great Britain and France to issue an order pro- 
hibiting the sale of intoxicants by residents of those countries to American 
soldiers and sailors in uniform in deference to the standards concerning 
intoxicants and prostitution established in the United States for the Army 
and Navy, and recently emphasized in a statement made by General Pershing 
in which he said: "From the military point of view we cannot tolerate 
alcohol among our soldiers. War is merciless; men must be competent; the 
drinking man makes a bad soldier. The Army won't stand alcohol because 
it must conserve its manpower." 

3. It is recommended that the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the 
Navy unite in a joint statement to the American people, emphasizing in the 
strongest possible way the great and beneficial work that is being done by 
the Y.M.C.A. and the Red Cross in Europe, not only in furnishing physical 
comforts and social pleasures, but in strengthening the moral fiber of the 
men, and assisting them to resist solicitations to vice and intemperance. Ever 
proper stimulus should be given to secure the subscriptions of our people 
of whatever sum may be necessary to maintain the work of such organizations 
in full vigor, enabling them to send to Europe a force of men and women, 
adapted to perform the services of inspiration, uplift, and practical helpful- 
ness, which has already counted for so much in the lives of our men in the 
training camps, and which is doubly needed now that they are to be en- 
gaged in active battle. 

The General Conference met on May 2; so I had only three days 
and three nights after landing to stop in Richmond for a full under- 
standing of the situation as to the Advocate, the Virginian, and the Anti- 
Saloon League, and to go to Blackstone to survey with the faculty what 
had happened during my absence and to outline plans for the rest of the 

EUROPE, 1918 


session. I arranged for conferences in Richmond and Blackstone by 
wire, and also for a conference of the commissioners of the Southern 
Assembly at Atlanta, but much to my surprise I was obliged to reshape 
my plans after reaching Richmond. The following report is taken from 
the columns of the Richmond Virginian: 

Back in Richmond for barely a day on his return from France on a 
mission for the American Government, Dr. James Cannon, Jr., was the guest 
of honor at a dinner given at Murphy's Hotel last night at which about 
100 men of distinction from all parts of Virginia and from outside the state 
were present. As a token of their affection and esteem the friends, who had 
arranged the dinner, gave him a handsome sterling silver water pitcher and 
goblets suitably engraved. 

Dr. R. H. Pitt, editor of the Religious Herald, and President of the Vir- 
ginia Anti-Saloon League, presided as toastmaster. Secretary S. K. McKee, 
of the Central Y.M.C.A., spoke for the Presbyterians; Mr. Jacob Umlauf for 
the Lutherans; Rev. John Scott for the Episcopalians, and Rev. William E. 
Thompson for the Methodists, all briefly voicing their pleasure at Dr. Can- 
non's safe return. 

Dr. George W. McDaniel, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Rich- 
mond, one of the outstanding leaders of the Southern Baptist Church, had 
been chosen to make the presentation speech. Dr. McDaniel said: 

"We are gathered on this occasion to honor a most remarkable man, Dr. 
James Cannon, Jr., who is admitted to be one of the outstanding figures of 
Virginia and the nation. In ability he is unsurpassed by any, his enemies 
themselves being the judges; and he has his enemies in large numbers. A 
few are those whom he has bested in debate and do not easily forget or 
readily forgive a victor. Some are the envious. Human nature is so con- 
stituted that it is jealous of the great. Jealousy is the tribute that inferiority 
pays to superiority. Byron says: 

'He who ascends to mountain tops shall find 

The loftiest peaks most wrapped in clouds and snow; 

He who surpasses or subdues mankind 

Must look down upon the frown and hate of those below.' 

"For the most part, however, Dr. Cannon's enemies were the friends of 
the liquor traffic and hated him because of the cause he fearlessly represented. 
He may not be the best loved, but he is the most feared man in Virginia and 
the wrongdoers are the fearful. The forces of evil, unable to combat the re- 
lentless logic of this man, have resorted to every method short of lawlessness 
and criminality to destroy him. Had his character been weak, had his armor 
been vulnerable, he would have been destroyed long ago. 

"Dr. Cannon is one of the most versatile and indefatigable of workers. 
He can do more things well than can any one man among a half million. 
He is an educator, a business man, a preacher and editor and reformer, and 
excels in every sphere. The school over which he presides at Blackstone is 


the clearest demonstration of splendid educational advantages for young 
women, at minimum cost. It is almost a miracle how, with so few loaves 
and fishes, he feeds so many girls. His business judgment and acumen are 
the admiration of great financiers and the despair of other denominational 
educators. As a preacher he is forceful in delivery, clear in statement and 
sound in faith, and at times speaks with a pathos which moves the heart 
deeply. As an editor he has the distinction of founding the first daily paper 
in Richmond that consistently champions all moral measures. 

"Through the Virginian he has awakened a civic consciousness, and 
through the Christian Advocate he has stimulated and directed a denomina- 
tion's thinking. In the field of temperance he is our intrepid and incom- 
parable leader. 

"Nature richly endowed him with a clear and capacious mind, and he 
has made full use of his talents. To Dr. Cannon, more than to any other 
man, is due the credit for the passage of the enabling act by the Virginia 
legislature, which gave the people the right to vote to outlaw the liquor 
traffic. Through long, weary years of opposition and strife he worked with 
patient persistence, imperturbed faith and tremendous energy to give the 
citizens the right to say whether or not the saloon should live. He could not 
be diverted from his course by extraneous issues, nor intimidated by a dis- 
respectful secular press, nor discouraged by a faint-hearted constituency, nor 
defeated by an unscrupulous foe. The cord that rang the bell which sounded 
the knell for John Barleycorn's funeral in Virginia was pulled by many hands, 
but by none that had a right to reach higher on that cord or pull with more joy 
than the hand of James Cannon, Jr. When the federal amendment to the 
constitution is finally ratified, and a disenthralled nation shall celebrate its 
hard-won freedom, from the avaricious and cruel despot of drink, the most 
appropriate person to deliver that oration will be James Cannon, Jr. . . . 

"Unlike some ministers and reformers, Dr. Cannon is always sure of 
his facts. He familiarizes himself with both sides of a question and his 
sharp sword has sent more than one antagonist limping and bleeding from 
the combat. I doubt that in all his controversies, he has ever been taken 
unaware or caught unprepared. When he discusses a subject he exhausts it. 
Little more can be said when he has had his say. He irons out all the 
wrinkles and leaves the garment smooth. 

"These sentiments are expressed in honest conviction and sincere ap- 
preciation by one who has not always agreed with Dr. Cannon. On tem- 
perance measures we have generally been in hearty accord; on certain other 
questions we have differed. But I thank God I am not so made that I 
cannot rightly appreciate a man whose views differ from my own. If I am 
capable of recognizing greatness, Dr. Cannon is a great man. . . . 

"My friends, our guest has just returned from a mission for the govern- 
ment among the soldiers in Europe. What his report is I do not know, but 
I do venture that he went to the bottom and saw conditions as they exist. 

EUROPE, 1918 


What he tells the Government will not be 'half-baked' and upon his opinion 
the American people may safely rely. It seems eminently fitting that Dr. 
Cannon's homecoming after a voyage across the treacherous Atlantic should 
be signalized in some becoming manner. His friends, therefore, have ar- 
ranged this dinner and done me the honor to ask me to perform a very 
pleasant duty. In their behalf I now present this handsome silver pitcher 
and goblets, with their esteem and devotion. The inscription on the pitcher 
is the sober truth: 

'Fearless foe of evil 

Able advocate of righteousness.' " 

... I have given this report of the banquet with Dr. McDaniel's 
speech . . . not in order to print a eulogy of myself or my work, but for 
a special reason. At this very time in April, 1918, my general activities 
were well known to the people of Virginia. It was known that I was a 
minister of the Virginia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, of thirty years' standing. It was known that I was the first Presi- 
dent of Blackstone College, and was then the president after twenty 
years as its head, involving as it did various kinds of business transactions. 
It was known that I was the owner and editor of the Christian Advocate. 
It was known that I was one of the founders, and one of the largest 
investors in the Richmond Virginian, a daily newspaper. It was known 
that I was superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League of Virginia, and 
had worked persistently on the platform, in the press and with the Vir- 
ginia Legislature for the extermination of the beverage liquor traffic. 
It was known that I was the superintendent of the Southern Assembly, 
and in that capacity was obliged to carry on large and important finan- 
cial transactions, and that I had built and was the owner of a summer 
hotel on the Assembly Grounds (in order to help accommodate visitors). 
It was known that I had made investments in property in the city of 
Richmond and elsewhere, for suit had been brought against me by a 
real-estate firm of Richmond, which was decided in my favor. It was 
known that I had been charged with buying and selling stocks, and 
that I had never denied that I had done so. 

All these things were well known, as I had been under the spotlight 
for many years, and the wet newspapers had made every possible charge 
against me. In view of all these things I consider that the banquet, the 
speeches, and the presentation of the gift to me with Dr. McDaniel's 
tribute on April 30, 191 8, was one of the most significant facts of my 
life. It recorded publicly not what the Blackstone trustees thought, not 
what the Southern Assembly commissioners thought, not what the 
Executive Committee of the Anti-Saloon League thought, not what the 



Virginia Conference thought, but what the representatives of various 
churches thought, as expressed at this largely attended banquet presided 
over by Dr. R. H. Pitt, at that time and until his death in 1937 recognized 
as one of the outstanding religious editors of the country. 

I was attacked about ten years later by secular newspapers as un- 
fitted for the bishopric because I frankly stated that I had engaged in 
all the various forms of activity indicated above — religious, semisecular, 
and secular. The approval of my Virginia friends who had full knowl- 
edge of my record, and my election two weeks later to the episcopacy by 
the General Conference of my Church was an endorsement of my 
record up to that time. Certainly if my record was not known, it was 
not because I had made any effort to hide any part of it. 

VIII. Episcopal Activities 

It is difficult to delimit strictly episcopal activities. During twenty years of 
episcopal service there were many important activities such as unification, 
Near East Relief and travels connected therewith, conferences of faith and 
order, of life and tvor\, or war and peace, etc. The episcopal office may or 
may not have been of any importance in connection with any of this wor\, 
but as the writer entered into this wor\ as a bishop, these matters are discussed 
under the head of episcopal activities. 

~n ill ill 1 1 linn 1 1 n i ■■ till iTl'l ■'■ l i Ml i~l Ti i ■ 1 1 1 ■ 1 1 1 1 ■ ■ 1 1 1 1 i ■ ■ 1 1 ■ '■ ■ ■ 1 1 1 1 ■ i ■ 1 1 1 ■ 1 1 1 1 1 ■ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ■ 1 1 1 1 ■ 1 1 i'i Ml M D l ll ll ill Til fl ■ 1 1" 

^MLay, 191 8, begins a new chapter in my life. The great questions which 
had been foremost in my thought and activity were education, missions, 
and social reform. While [I was] not less interested in any one of these 
great subjects, yet my work as a bishop compelled a change in relation- 
ships. I resigned the presidency of Blackstone College, I sold the Balti- 
more and Richmond Christian Advocate to the Virginia Conference, 
and I resigned the superintendency of the Anti-Saloon League of Vir- 
ginia. The General Conference of 1918 established a Commission on Tem- 
perance and Social Service, consisting of seven members, of which I was 
the chairman. The scope of the work of the commission was very broad, 
including domestic relations, industrial relations, interracial relations, 
social reforms, recreation, and international relations. The commission, 
however, was given no budget, and the work which was done was paid 
for by money raised by my personal solicitations. The work of this com- 
mission, which later became a board, will be discussed more fully in the 
chapter on "Activities in Social Reforms and Public Life." 

My election as bishop had, by the constitutions of those boards, auto- 
matically made me a member of the Board of Missions and of the Board of 
Church Extension, so that I was officially connected with the boards of 
the church which had under their supervision the work of education, mis- 
sions, and social reform. 

I had indicated that I would be glad to have some mission conferences 
in my episcopal jurisdiction. When, however, the first draft of the com- 
mittee on episcopal assignments became noised around, and it was learned 
that I had been assigned to Brazil as my special field of labor, there was 
great surprise. 


Mr. John R. Pepper and Dr. George R. Stuart 1 went to see Bishop 
Atkins, chairman of the committee, and protested that I could not be sent 
out of the country at that time because of my relations to the Southern 
Assembly and to the cause of national prohibition. Dr. Stuart was very 
forceful in his protest, and both of them declared that if the assignment 
was not changed, they would move a resolution on the floor of the Gen- 
eral Conference requesting that I be given conferences in the United 
States or contiguous thereto. The protest was heeded, and I was given 
an episcopal district containing all the Mexican Conferences together with 
the Northwest Texas and New Mexico Conferences in the United States. 
The English-speaking Conferences [of this area] I held only one year, 
but in that time I made some very pleasant acquaintances which have 
continued throughout the years. 

All the Mexican work remained in my district for eight years, and 
the Western Mexican Mission was in my district continuously after 1930. 
In 1922 the addition of Cuba to my district gave me supervision of all the 
Spanish-speaking work from 1922 to 1926. In 1921 the Belgian Congo was 
added to my district and remained in it until 1934. In 1926 Brazil and 
the Congo composed my district. In 1930 my episcopal district included 
Brazil and the Congo, but Brazil, having been created an autonomous 
church, was taken out of my district and the two Mexican Conferences 
in the United States added thereto. Later the Texas-Mexican work was 
assigned to another bishop. In 1934 my episcopal district conference in- 
cluded the Arizona, Pacific, and Northwest Conferences, and the Western 
Mexican and California Oriental Missions. Thus from the beginning 
throughout my episcopal life, I always had jurisdiction over mission work 
to a greater or less extent, and was constantly related as a supervisor of 
mission fields to the General Board of Missions at Nashville. It is as 
proper to be said here as anywhere that in all my work with the Board 
of Missions, there has been no friction, but most brotherly official relations. 

Mexico ( 1918-1926) 

When I first took charge of the Mexican field in 191 8, the Cincinnati 
Plan 2 for the division of the work in Mexico had recently been adopted 

1. Dr. George Rutledge Stuart (1857-1926) was widely known as an evangelist and 
lecturer. He was professor of English and Natural Science at Centenary College (1885- 
1890) and pastor in Birmingham (1916-1926). 

2. On June 3 and July 1, 1914, a convention attended by representatives of the larger 
Protestant denominations met in Cincinnati to discuss the missionary program in Mexico. 
It was decided to try to avoid the duplication of missionary functions by the various 
denominations. The Cincinnati plan provided for the division of the territory among 
the Protestant denominations. The original plan was modified at later conferences held 
in 1 91 7 and 1919 (W. R. Wheeler, D. H. Day, and James B. Rodgers, Modern Missions 
in Mexico, Philadelphia; The Westminister Press, 1925, pp. 118-121). 


by the different Protestant bodies, but transfers of the workers had not 
been made. It was exceedingly difficult to get into Mexico at that time. 
The country was in a state of revolution, and Franciso Villa was terroriz- 
ing the state of Chihuahua. The State Department at Washington had 
called out the missionaries and had refused to grant passports for their 
return to Mexico on the ground that they could not guarantee the safety 
of United States citizens and might become embroiled in war because 
of failure to protect them properly. I went to Washington and conferred 
with Mr. Robert Lansing, then Secretary of State. I emphasized the im- 
portance of the return of the missionaries to restore the shattered morale 
of the church membership, to protect the mission property, and to con- 
tinue to carry on the work. I assured the Secretary of State that all the 
missionary workers, including myself, had petitioned to be allowed to 
return, and would sign a waiver exempting the government from all 
responsibility for their welfare if anything should happen to them. On 
this agreement the State Department issued the passports, and Miss Esther 
Case, Dr. W. W. Pinson, and I, with one or two others, went into Mexico 
[in 1919] and inspected the property. 

We spent the night at Chihuahua, learning the next day that Villa 
had made a raid within seven miles of the city, and had hanged a num- 
ber of his victims to the telegraph pole as a warning of what he would 
do to those who resisted him. The waiving on the part of the missionaries 
of their right to protection by the American government had a very fine 
effect upon the Mexicans and made them realize more clearly that the 
missionaries were willing to take great risks in order to bring to them 
the true gospel of Christ in comparison with the superstitious and idola- 
trous teachings of Romanism. 

I proceeded at once to put into effect the Cincinnati Plan. I called all 
our missionaries, and all the native preachers and workers, from the 
central districts of Mexico to the five northern states which had been as- 
signed to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. While the plan gave 
the right to all the Mission Boards to retain work in the City of Mexico, 
I thought it inadvisable to have any worker separated from the rest of the 
territory by hundreds of miles. 

I made plans to intensify and develop the work in the capital cities 
of Monterrey, Saltillo, Durango, Chihuahua, and in the important com- 
mercial city of Torreon. New schools were opened at Monterrey and 
Torreon. The schools at Saltillo, Durango, and Chihuahua were greatly 
strengthened. Social centers were opened at Monterrey, Durango, and 
Chihuahua. New hospitals were opened at Torreon and Chihuahua, and 
the Monterrey hospital was greatly improved. A school, dispensary, and 



social center were also opened at Piedras Negras, and later on an industrial 
school was opened at Montemorelos. The school system in Mexico was in 
a deplorable condition, but I endeavored at every preaching place, wherever 
it was possible, to have a primary school in connection with the church. 
By this method congregations at the churches were largely increased and 
many were added to the church. 

In San Antonio and El Paso training-school work was strongly em- 
phasized. The Wesleyan Institute at San Antonio was established, and 
the Lydia Patterson Institute was greatly enlarged. New quarters were 
bought for the Erne Eddington School in El Paso. A large community 
center was opened in the heart of the Mexican population in El Paso. 
The centenary campaign, which continued through the years from 191 8 
to 1920, brought a large amount of money into the treasury of the Board 
of Missions and made possible the carrying out of this extensive develop- 
ment. . . . 3 

Conditions in Mexico grew steadily worse as far as the attitude of the 
government toward religion was concerned. In articles which I wrote 
for the Nashville Advocate and the Methodist Quarterly Review [April, 
1926], I expressed my views very fully. I held that most of the provisions 
of the Constitution of 1917 relating to religion were justified by the 
struggle with the Roman Catholic Church which the Mexican Republic 
had had from the time of the revolution under Juarez. The oppression 
of the Church had been monstrous. In its bigotry and intolerance it 
had commanded that the state recognize no religion except the Roman 
Catholic; it was constantly endeavoring to evade or to subvert the pro- 
visions of the Constitution. It had no right to protest against any 
measures the government might take to suppress its arrogance and its 
flouting of any restraints. I held, however, that there were some pro- 
visions of the Constitution which were entirely too sweeping, and which 
imposed restrictions on the teaching of the Gospel which could not be 
justified, and against which every Christian church must protest. The 
denial of the right of any foreigner to preach the Gospel in Mexico, I 
declared, would have prevented Paul from preaching in Mexico and sent 
him to prison, just as was done at Philippi; and just as Paul declined to 
be restricted by any laws in his preaching of the Word of God and en- 

3. Cannon's second son, W. B. Cannon, became a medical missionary to Mexico in 
1921. While there he contracted pneumonia, and although he recovered, his health re- 
mained so poor that he was forced to return to the United States in 1923. While in Mexico 
he had been responsible for building a new hospital at Torreon. It was Bishop Cannon 
who, while in Mexico in 1923, decided that his son should return to the United States. 
On this visit the Bishop was seriously injured when he fell in leaving the train in the 
semidarkness at Liminez. He was hospitalized at Torreon for ten days. 


tered country after country regardless of stripes and imprisonment, so I 
held that the Church and the missionaries to Mexico should follow the 
teachings of their Master and of the Great Apostle, Paul, rather than 
the laws of Mexico. 

There were some of the Mexican preachers who were quite insistent 
that all of the work of the Mission should be put in the hands of the 
Mexican preachers, and that they should be allowed to administer all the 
funds of the Mission Board. With this view I did not agree but held 
that, as long as possible, the missionaries should remain on the field, and 
that the funds of the board should be administered, as they had always 
been, by the bishop in charge and the presiding elders, whether they 
were Americans or Mexicans, and by the missionaries in charge of the 
schools, hospitals, and social centers. 

During the last year of my administration in Mexico [1925-1926], in 
company with those sensible, heroic secretaries, Miss Esther Case and 
Dr. E. H. Rawlings, I went to Mexico City to consult with the govern- 
ment officials as to the correct interpretation of the law. I was assured 
by the Minister of Education, who conferred with President Calles, that 
the laws were not meant for Protestants, that we need not be disturbed, 
that we could carry on our work, but that the laws were meant for the 
Roman Catholics who were unwilling to have any restrictions placed upon 
them, and who were still exploiting the ignorance of the peons. 

In the year 1926 I was assigned to Brazil and Africa, and had no 
supervision over Mexican work again until 1930, when I was given charge 
of the Mexican work in the United States. The setting-up of the auton- 
omous Mexican Methodist Church resulted in the recall of all the male 
missionaries but one, left some of the women workers in charge of 
schools and social centers. A number of Mexican students attended Lydia 
Patterson Institute at El Paso and the Wesleyan Institute at San Antonio 
and returned to Mexico to work among their people; but the law had been 
applied with increasing severity so that many of the Mexican pastors 
were not permitted to preach in their pulpits, but could simply make 
talks in Sunday School or in an informal fashion. 

I have no sympathy with the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church 
to secure interference by our government with the internal affairs of 
Mexico, especially its administration of its religious laws. I hold that the 
government could, with equally as good reason, interfere with Roman 
Catholic bigotry, intolerance, and persecution in Poland, Austria, Italy, and 
elsewhere. But I do believe that all the great Protestant bodies of the 
United States should appeal to the government of Mexico to change its 
laws so that the preaching and teaching of the Word of God may be free 


and open to everybody, whether Mexicans or foreigners. Many of the most 
precious friendships of my life are those formed with missionaries and 
native workers among the Mexican people. 

Alabama Conferences (1920-1922) 

By order of the General Conference of 1918, the first two years of the 
quadrennium were given over to the centenary movement, and the last 
two years to the educational campaign. The Board of Education elected 
me to be the chairman of the Educational Campaign Commission, and 
I gave much time and labor to that work. In 1920 the two Alabama Con- 
ferences were placed in my episcopal district, and the people of the city 
of Birmingham very kindly rented a home for my family in which we 
lived for two years. I stated to the College of Bishops, at the time of 
this appointment, that I could not give to this great field the amount of 
attention and active superintendency it should have and continue to do 
the general field work which I had planned to do as chairman of the 
Educational Campaign Commission. I requested that I be relieved, but 
the committee on assignments of the College of Bishops thought other- 
wise, and so hamstrung my work as chairman of the commission. 

Thus the Alabama Conferences were assigned to me, and while, at 
the urgent request of the Educational Commission, I continued to act 
as chairman and did as much committee and field work as possible, I 
felt that it was necessary to give the most of my time and labor to Ala- 
bama, which had a population of 2,350,000. The membership of the 
Methodist Church in the state was about 190,000. While speaking at lead- 
ing centers all over the Church in accordance with the campaign 
plans, I emphasized the work in Alabama. 

During the two years [that I presided over] the Alabama Conferences 
[1920-1922], I delivered sermons and addresses at one hundred and 
thirty-two different points in the state, and attended numerous meetings 
in connection with both the centenary and education work. I pleaded 
for sufficient money to develop Birmingham-Southern College and the 
Woman's College of Alabama into A-grade institutions. In order to 
spring the entire Church in Alabama, I worked to secure subscrip- 
tions of $100,000 each from Mr. R. S. Munger and Mr. W. H. Stock- 
ham, two of the leading Methodists of Birmingham. Under the stimulus 
of these large subscriptions, the preachers and laymen of the two Con- 
ferences, responding to the persistent leadership of their presiding bishop, 
made subscriptions sufficient to place their colleges on such a foundation 
that they have been able to build up steadily from that time on. 

ALABAMA CONFERENCES (1920-1922) 219 

The educational campaign was the greatest work that had ever been 
done by the Church up to that time for her schools and colleges. It rescued 
institutions that were in a critical condition, paid off their debts, enabled 
them to erect new buildings, and increased their endowment. It was a 
very congenial task for me, as it was simply an extension to a broader 
field of the kind of work which I had been doing for over twenty-five 

I reported to the General Conference in 1922 that I had found that 
the people would travel many miles and attend service on weekdays, 
even at unusual hours, to hear one of the bishops of the Church discuss the 
work of the Church. I also reported that the educational campaign was a 
great blessing to Alabama Methodism, the profiting of which would ap- 
pear not only then, but in after years. The amount subscribed in Alabama 
for the Christian Education Movement during the two years was 

With my experience in connection with the Randolph-Macon and 
the Vanderbilt University discussions, I strongly emphasized in Alabama 
the great demand for Church ownership and control. I insisted that in 
no other way could the character of the teaching be guaranteed and the 
institutions be really representative of Methodist thought. . . . 

During my administration of the Alabama Conference, I was faced 
with criticism, indeed positive opposition, from some of the Alabama 
preachers, because of some of my appointments. I was not surprised at 
the disapproval of some of my appointments, for I had found some con- 
ditions existing with which I had been very familiar in the Virginia Con- 
ference, and had taken such action as I thought would improve the con- 
ditions. I had no personal animus, as the members of the Conference 
were largely strangers to me. I was somewhat surprised when my critics 
went to the length of trying to organize opposition to my return in ap- 
pealing to the College of Bishops for a change. . . . [However] strong 
representations were made by preachers and laymen insisting upon my 
return. I was returned and carried out the plans I had begun the first 

At the General Conference of 1922, both the Alabama Conferences 
asked for my return, but after a great deal of very earnest thought, I 
asked to be given supervision of mission fields only. This request was 
granted, and I was given no more home conferences until 1934. Many 
of my friends have not agreed with me in my requests for mission Con- 
ferences, believing that a man with my views and methods was needed in 
the home field. But wisely or unwisely, the choice was made; and until 
1934 I had supervision of only four home Conferences. Thus as an 



administrator I was brought into personal touch with very few of the 
ministers and laymen of the church except on boards and at General 
Conference sessions. I now think this was a mistake, but it makes more 
significant the support given me by the Church in the attacks made upon 
me from 1928 to 1934. 

The Belgian Congo ( 1922) 

The work in the [Belgian] Congo, if fully covered, would in itself 
require a small volume. My relation to the Congo work came through 
my close friendship with Bishop Walter R. Lambuth 4 who had pioneered 
the Congo Mission, and who went out in his second trip with the first 
missionaries, saw them located, but was unable personally to organize 
the work. He had wanted to return to the Congo, but he realized that 
his health would hardly be equal to the strain, and so. . . he urged me 
to make a trip to the Congo in his stead. When Bishop Lambuth died, 
the College of Bishops, meeting in Richmond in December, 1921, car- 
ried out [his] wishes. . . and requested me to take charge of the Congo 
work. This, after full consultation with my wife, I finally agreed to do. 5 

Mrs. Lura Bennett Cannon was as much a casualty of World War 
I as though she had been an actual participant in the struggle on the 
field of France. In the winter of 191 8, when her husband and two of 
her sons were in France, she carried the heavy burden of the family at 
home with a heart all aquiver with anxiety as to what might be happen- 
ing to her absent loved ones in France. Few who have not experienced 
it can understand the strain upon those who waited for weeks without 
any news whatever. . . . 

The effects of the strain resulting from overwork and anxiety did 
not appear at once, but in the winter of 1920-1921 my wife had a very 
severe attack of high blood pressure, which necessitated her going to the 
hospital in Birmingham for some weeks. She was told by the physicians 
at the hospital (her son, Dr. W. B. Cannon, being a member of the 
staff) that there had developed a condition of high blood pressure which 
might be controlled so that she would live for several years, or she might 
have a sudden fatal attack at any time. She accepted the situation with 
the calmness and trust of a true Christian. She said and did nothing to 
disturb her husband and her children unduly, but determined to live as 
long and as helpfully as possible. 

Therefore when the African assignment raised the question of being 

4. Walter Russell Lambuth (1 854-1921), medical missionary who worked principally 
in China and Japan, was elected bishop in 19 10. He was an author of several books and 
for ten years editor of Review of Missions. 

5. See pp. 316-317 for further amplification of this. 



separated for four months with a distance of thousands of miles between 
us, and no possibility of quick return in case of dangerous illness, she her- 
self settled the question, telling me that she had always tried to be a help 
and not a hindrance to me in my church work for the Kingdom of God. 
She could not ask me to sit down in the house and be with her lest in my 
absence, even at church or in a neighboring city, she might have a sudden 
attack. It was settled finally, once and for all, that I was to continue to 
carry on my work just as usual, and that I was to agree to take charge of 
the Congo Mission. . . . 

I made three trips to the Congo, one in 1922, one in 1927, and the 
last in 1930. The route in 1922 was via Antwerp, to Dakar, Boma, Matadi, 
Kinshasa, Leopoldville, the Congo, the Kasai, and the Sankuru rivers, to 
Lusambo, all by steamer and rail. From Lusambo I traveled by caravan. 
Before sailing I saw the Minister of the Colonies in Brussels, secured such 
official letters as he thought would be helpful, and tried to get an under- 
standing of the real attitude of the government toward Protestant work in 
the Congo. 

I knew that Belgium was a Roman Catholic country, and yet the 
Socialist party under the leadership of M. Vandervelde insisted that the 
treaty by which Leopold was given control of the Congo should be strict- 
ly observed. 6 This treaty gives to all churches equal rights to carry on 
missionary and educational work in the Congo, but of course the govern- 
ment can in various ways make it more difficult for the Protestant de- 
nominations to do their work, and give the preference in every way 
possible to the Roman Catholics. In all my twelve years of supervision 
of the Congo, I have tried to keep on good terms with the Belgian au- 
thorities, but I have recognized a steadily increasing pressure from Rome 
to minimize to the utmost the work of the Protestant missions and to 
finally drive them out entirely. 

The trip from Antwerp to Matadi on the Belgian steamer was slow 
and tedious. The staterooms were small and stuffy, fortunately with 
only two in a room, my companion being a returning missionary. The 
only break in the trip was at the city of Dakar, the capital of French 
Senegal (West African Colony). The town called itself the "Little Paris 
of West Africa," and endeavored to ape Paris in its shops, cafes, manners, 

6. From 1885 until 1908 the "Congo Free State" was under what amounted to the 
personal rule of King Leopold II of Belgium. This relationship had been recognized 
at the Berlin Conference (1 884-1 885), but the treaties made there had called for equal 
trade, equal missionary opportunities, and religious freedom. Leopold apparently paid 
little attention to these provisions and subjected the "Free State" to authoritarian control. 
In 1908 so great was the international reaction to this development that the Belgian 
parliament asserted authority over the area and promoted extensive reforms. 



and morals. Vice flaunted itself, as in Paris, but in crass, gross fashion, 
without any French artificiality; certainly, the French did not seem to 
have improved the morals of the natives of the colony. 

The evidences of the Congo were seen far out into the ocean. The 
current of the mighty river swept its water and mud over [twenty] miles 
out to sea. When the steamer tied up at Matadi, I wondered how I 
could live in the torrid climate for the week before we could leave for the 
higher country. The temperature was 106 in the shade practically all 
the time, and in the heat of the day it went up to 120 , with great 

I met the veteran missionary, the Reverend Mr. Clark of the Baptist 
Church, who was probably the Nestor of the missionaries in the Lower 
Congo 7 . ... I stayed at Kinshasa and Leopoldville, the commercial and 
governmental capitals of the Congo at that time, for over a week waiting 
for a steamer for Lusambo, the nearest navigable point to Wembo Nyama, 
the center of the Congo Mission. 

The Congo was the only colony which Belgium had ever had, and 
for the early years when Leopold was in unbridled control, nothing was 
thought of except the exploitation of the natives and of the country. After 
the great powers had called a halt upon the atrocities practiced under 
Leopold, the government had abated many of its cruelties, but the chief 
aim of the administration was still to get as much out of the country as 
possible. Later on, King Albert endeavored to impart a different spirit 
to the colonial administration. I was courteously received by the 
colonial administrators at Leopoldville, but I realized that the government 
really did not have any interest in the success of any of the Protestant 
missions in the Congo, and would greatly have preferred to have had 
no Englishmen or Americans carrying on mission work. . . . 

The incidents of that first Congo trip were chronicled in the Nashville 
Christian Advocate [1922 and 1923] to the extent of twenty or more 
articles and will not be repeated here. I traveled from Lusambo on foot 
and by hammock to Minga, the nearest mission station, and then to 
Wembo Nyama, the central station, making the trip by easy stages, walk- 
ing in the cool of the morning and evening, and riding in a hammock 
part of the time. 

I had several meetings with Chief Wembo Nyama, in whose tribe 
the central mission station is located. I found that he was not one of the 
great chiefs, but had a comparatively restricted territory. He was very 
similar in his thinking to many Negroes whom I knew in the South. 

7. Joseph Clark and his wife were at this time at Matadi, but during their forty years 
of missionary work, they had been stationed at numerous points in the Congo. 


He was emotional and was greatly stirred by the singing and the preach- 
ing at the mission services. At such times he would insist that he wanted 
to be a Christian, in fact that he was a Christian, but that he could not 
join the church because the Mission required that a man have only one 
wife, that he had over twenty-five and he was obliged by the tribal law, 
as he said, to retain all of them, be a husband to them, and father of 
their children. He did not object to his wives joining the church, and 
some of them did so, but he never would agree to select one wife and live 
with her alone and take care of the rest. He said that would be unjust 
to the other wives. 

Bishop Lambuth, who was named Kabengele in the Atatela language, 
had given and sent Wembo Nyama presents. And as the custom was 
in the Congo, Wembo Nyama had sent presents of eggs, chickens, fruits, 
and vegetables to the new bishop, to whom the natives gave the name 
of Onongeno, meaning "The Happy Warrior" because I smiled and 
laughed with them so much. Wembo Nyama was satisfied with the 
presents which I gave him, especially with a suit of clothes which were 
much too small for him, but in which he arrayed himself greatly to his 
own discomfort and to our amusement, and attended the Sunday serv- 
ice when I preached. When I went to see Wembo Nyama at his house, 
I found him clothed in native fashion, wearing only a heavy loin cloth 
and sandals. We parted pledging friendship, and I promised to send 
Wembo Nyama a gold ring, which I did upon my return to America, 
greatly to the delight of the chief. 

After several days of delightful conference with the missionaries, 
learning their needs and the great difficulties which they confronted, I 
started on the return trip by the way of Tunda, the eastern station of 
the Mission, to the railroad at Kibombo, thence by steamer and rail, a 
trip of two weeks to Cape Town. The way to Kibombo was much more 
difficult than that from Lusambo to Wembo Nyama. There were wide 
rivers and creeks out of their banks, and more than once I had to get 
on the shoulders of a native bearer and trust his strength and sure foot- 
ing to carry me safely through the water and mud. I did not enjoy 
riding on the shoulders of the naked men, but they were eager to carry 
me, laughed and showed their white teeth at any idea that they were not 
strong enough or would stumble, and none of them did stumble or 
fall, even in crossing on slippery logs. . . . 

In one way, the most interesting experience of the trip was a dinner 
given to me and the accompanying missionary, Brother Davis, by Tunda, 
the native chief for whom that village was named. He was evidently 
part Arab, a man with much more than average intelligence, a far greater 


chieftain than Wembo Nyama. The dinner was served on the open 
porch of Tunda's house with hundreds of the natives and their wives 
and children squatting and standing around to watch the "Owangis" (the 
name for a white chieftain) eat and talk. 

To show his wealth and importance, Tunda brought out all his 
fifty-nine wives and asked to have the picture taken of himself and his 
wives in a semicircle, with his wives ranging in order of his favoritism 
on the right hand and on the left, the ones farthest from him being 
large, clumsy, heavy-set women, whom he had bought for wives to do 
field work and to bear children. . . . 

On the last night out from Kibombo, I stopped at the house of a very 
tall, fine-looking Belgian trader, whom I found to be unusually sensible 
and well-posted, and who greatly appreciated the work of the Mission. 
He gave me two very fine rhinoceros tusks, which are much finer than 
elephant tusks, and of such size that they can be used as a mantel orna- 
ment. . . . 

The trip from Kibombo to Cape Town was full of interest. It fol- 
lowed very largely in the track of Livingstone's last journey, ended at Ujiji, 
where his faithful helpers found him dead kneeling in prayer. The 
way went by. . . the Great Victoria Falls, ... to Bulawayo, the capital 
of Northern Rhodesia, the Crown Colony which Cecil Rhodes governed 
and on whose lofty plateau he is buried .... 

When I reached Cape Town [March 17, 1922], I found that arrange- 
ments had been made for me to deliver a public address, a luncheon 
speech, and high-tea talk before taking the steamer at four o'clock. I 
was met at the train by Bishop Eden Johnson, of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, who was dressed in usual episcopal garb, a black suit with long 
coat. I was dressed in khaki shirt with belted trousers and white helmet, 
and had almost forgotten that anybody ever wore black or a long coat. I 
hardly knew what to do about clothes for the speeches that I was to make. 
I would not have hesitated as far as I was concerned, but I did not want 
to shock Bishop Johnson or violate the proprieties of the occasion. I was 
rushed speedily to the hotel while Bishop Johnson went home to get me 
a coat and vest, so everything went off decently and in order. . . . 

On my arrival in London [April 3, 1922], I found almost a mailbag 
full of papers, letters, and documents of various kinds, and welcomed the 
opportunity on my trip across the Atlantic to get thoroughly posted be- 
fore reaching home. At the General Conference of 1922, held in Hot 
Springs, Arkansas, by request of the Conference, I spoke for forty-five 
minutes on our work in the Congo, which increased very greatly the 
interest already felt in the African Mission. 


Cuba ( 1922-1926) 

My work in Cuba, from 1922 until 1926, was pleasant, and I would 
have been glad to return for another quadrennium. From my four years' 
study of the conditions in Cuba, I believed that the United States govern- 
ment made a great mistake in not giving Cuba the same relation that it 
gave to Puerto Rico. Had the United States taken control of the affairs of 
Cuba as it did for Puerto Rico, there would have been peace and quiet 
throughout the island, instead of the thirty years or more of revolution, 
strife, and bloodshed. I am satisfied that the missionary work on the 
island would have progressed more rapidly under stable government, as 
in every revolution the work of the church is, of necessity, impeded. 

After studying the situation, I recognized the feeling on the part of 
the Cuban preachers that they should have more recognition, so I appoint- 
ed two of their number to be presiding elders, which positions up to that 
time had been held entirely by missionaries. Many of the missionaries 
were not able to live in the Cuban climate and were either transferred 
back to the American work or over to the Mexican work. Some of the best 
workers now among the Mexicans were formerly missionaries in Cuba. 

Near East Relief 

In 1922 the General Conference adopted resolutions proposed by me 
concerning the persecution of the Christians in the Near East, and ap- 
pointed a Near East Advisory Committee, of which I was made the 
chairman. This committee was instructed to take counsel with the 
National Committee of the Near East Relief as to plans for co-operation. 
The resolutions declared: 

Through the efforts of the Near East Relief, chartered by Act of the United 
States Congress to represent officially American philanthropy, more than a 
million lives have been saved and approximately 150,000 orphan children are 
now being maintained and educated. The Near East Relief has inaugurated 
plans for re-establishing these people in the homes of which they have been de- 
prived by their persecutors, and for rehabilitating their national life. 

This humane work is greatly hindered, however, by the fact that these 
stricken Christians are still at the mercy of the Turks and are still being robbed 
and either murdered outright or driven into exile. In fact, because of the 
continuance of war in the Near East, and the withdrawal from many sections 
of the protection formerly given by the great powers of Europe, the condition 
of these unfortunate people is even worse than it was three years ago. 

As expressive of its earnestness and intensity of purpose, the General 
Conference adopted the following final resolution: 



That the General Conference memorializes the Government of the United 
States to take whatever steps may be necessary to stop the persecution which 
threatens the complete annihilation of the Christians in the Near East and to 
give them such protection as will enable them to re-establish their desolated 
homes and support themselves in safety and comfort. 

Before sailing for Europe in the summer of 1922, I had an interview 
with Secretary of State Charles E. Hughes, and presented to the Secretary 
the memorial adopted by the General Conference. I endeavored to im- 
press Secretary Hughes with the urgency of the need for prompt, de- 
finite, and effective action owing to the critical conditions existing, 
especially in Asiatic Turkey, where the Turks were ruthlessly slaughter- 
ing Greeks and Armenians, combatants and noncombatants, children and 
old people. Secretary Hughes read the resolution and called my at- 
tention to what he considered to be the extreme language used, asking 
what was meant by the words "whatever steps may be necessary." I 
replied that it meant exactly what it said. "But," said Secretary Hughes, 
"that could mean war." I replied, "Certainly it could, if the Turks thought 
the United States government was not in earnest in commanding that 
they cease committing atrocities; but if war is necessary, the resolutions 
clearly contemplate war." 

When Secretary Hughes expressed surprise that war should be even 
thought of, I replied, "Our government went to war with Spain because 
of the persecution of the Cubans and the atrocities practiced by General 
Weyler. We recently entered a war because of what we held to be Ger- 
man atrocities. In the present case, according to the Bryce report, the 
Turks have already destroyed over one million Armenians and are now 
endeavoring to destroy the rest of them because they are Christian 
people who will not consent to become Moslems even to save their 
lives." I insisted that the question was not the making of war upon 
Turkey, but the determination to prevent the massacre of the Christian 
people of the Near East by the Turks. I called the attention of the 
Secretary of State to the passage of a similar resolution by a Northern 
Baptist Convention, of which church the Secretary was a member. I 
told him I was going to Constantinople and would communicate with 
him from there. 

In September [1922] I went to Constantinople, and endeavored to 
secure accurate information from reliable sources. 8 The success of Kemal 
Pasha in routing the Greek army and driving it in full retreat out of 
Asia Minor had roused the Turks in Constantinople to the highest pitch of 

8. Before going to Constantinople, Cannon attended various temperance meetings in 
England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Ireland. 


fanaticism. "Christian dogs" were liable to attack at any time they might 
be caught unprotected. When I went in a car to the home of the Ar- 
menian Patriarch with an Armenian chauffeur, and when I drove through 
the streets of Stamboul to the official residence of the Greek Patriarch, 
Meletios, I was hooted and jeered at, and the Armenian chauffeur loudly 

Constantinople was under the protection of the British, French, and 
Italian fleets, and the troops of the three nations patrolled the city. Kemal 
Pasha demanded the retirement of the foreign troops from Constantinople. 
To the amazement of the Greeks and Armenians, and probably the Turks 
themselves, the French and the Italians withdrew their forces. Lloyd 
George, then Prime Minister of England, be it ever said to his honor, flat- 
ly refused to order the withdrawal of the British Navy or Fleet, and Sir 
Charles Harrington, the British commander, posted a squad of British 
Tommies in those sections of Constantinople where riot was likely to 
break out. 

The Near East Relief was the only hope of the stricken Christian 
people. I wrote to the press in America descriptions of the distressing 
scenes which were witnessed daily: the picture of thousands of orphan 
children lying asleep on bare floors, with nothing but blankets for cots; 
of shiploads of children coming in on the ships with no fathers or 
mothers, since they had all died from hunger, disease, or the sword. 

Vague, uncertain reports of the burning of Smyrna and the massacre 
of the helpless people in cold blood came to Constantinople. I drove to 
the residence of the Patriarch, Meletios, and found him in great distress. 
He had just that morning had from a messenger direct from Smyrna a 
full report of the horrible atrocities which had been committed by the 
Turks. Chrysostom, the Bishop of Smyrna, had been treacherously in- 
vited to the house of the Turkish general, where, upon his arrival, he 
was turned over to the Turkish troops, his eyes gouged out, his ears 
cut off, and his body tied to a vicious horse which dragged him over the 
stones of the streets of Smyrna until there was only a battered, misshapen 
mass of flesh and bones. The troops were sent into the Armenian Greek 
quarters of Smyrna, where robbery, rape, and murder went on until the 
population had been practically exterminated, and fire was set to the 
Christian quarter to burn up the evidence of horrible deeds. 

These things the Patriarch rehearsed to me, and then said, "I shall 
probably suffer the same fate as my colleague, Chrysostom." And there 
is no doubt that he would have been murdered, and also the large pro- 
portion of Christians at Constantinople, had it not been that the Turks 
feared to attack the British soldiers, or to begin a massacre while they 



were present in the city. To Lloyd George alone belongs the credit of 
preventing the burning and the massacre at Constantinople. 

The horror of the situation was greatly increased, to my mind, by the 
fact that the Allied ships, including the American Fleet, were at anchor in 
full sight of Smyrna, and knew the atrocities which were being com- 
mitted, some of them being performed before their very eyes. I declared 
that, had the American government cabled to the admiral in charge 
of the fleet to land a body of American troops and to notify Kemal Pasha 
that no massacre of the Christians would be tolerated, he would not have 
dared to attack the American troops, and Smyrna would have been 

I sent a cablegram to the Secretary of State [dated September 30, 1922] 
which was given also to the New York Times in which I set forth my 
indignation and my horror. . . . 

To this cablegram the Secretary to State [replied on October 2 that 
the United States had done all in its power to prevent bloodshed short of 
resorting to armed force.] 

I had already sailed for home before Secretary Hughes's cablegram 
reached Europe. I did not see it until the day after I landed. 9 Immediately 
upon my arrival in New York, I was met by a representative of the 
Near East Relief and driven to a meeting which had been called to hear 
a message from me that afternoon. I was taken by surprise, had pre- 
pared nothing, had no notes or documents with me, and did not speak 
with my usual fire and vigor. But the facts that I did present were suffi- 
ciently horrible in themselves. The Honorable Henry M. Morgenthau, the 
former ambassador to Turkey, also spoke on that occasion. 

In response to pressing invitations, I went at once to Chicago and 
spoke at a great mass meeting on Sunday night [October 15, 1922], being 
introduced by that great Christian banker, James B. Forgan. The address 
produced a great effect on the audience, which could hardly credit that 
such atrocities could be practiced without molestation or punishment. . . . 

Invitations were so numerous that the Near East Relief arranged for 
an itinerary, especially at my request, in the cities of the South, as I de- 
sired my own people to have the true story from their own representative. 

In the year 1926 I went with Mr. Charles V. Vickrey, the General 
Secretary of Near East Relief, and Mr. Vickrey's secretary, Mr. Smook, 
throughout the length of Russia, entering from Finland, and coming out 

9. Cannon replied to this message in a telegram directed to the Secretary of State 
in which he insisted that human rights were paramount, and that the United States 
could have called upon the other powers to join with her in protecting Smyrna (Cannon 
to Hughes, Oct. 16, 1922, Cannon MSS). 


at Batum, on the Black Sea. The securing o£ a passport was quite a 
problem. It seemed impossible to get Moscow to act, but finally the 
Russian consul at Helsingfors granted a temporary passport, good for 
four days. On that passport there would be sufficient time to reach Mos- 
cow, and, if ordered out of the country, to get through to Poland. 

St. Petersburg, the once proud capital of Russia, was indeed a scene 
of desolation. Some of the finest churches and public buildings had been 
left with little traces of vandalism, but most of the fine buildings had 
been looted and stripped of everything of value, even the door and win- 
dow frames having been torn out for firewood. The people themselves 
were hungry and poorly clad. Misery and despair were written all over 
the city. 

It was a great relief to get away and go on to Moscow, which had be- 
come once more the governmental and the real center of the Russian 
Soviet Republic. The time spent in Moscow was all too short. The Red 
Square was the center of the city's life. At one side was the tomb of 
Lenin, in which he lay exposed to public view and received adoration as 
a great liberator of his people. On the wall near by there was written in 
large letters, "Religion is the opiate of the people." On the other side 
of the square loomed the Kremlin, the entrance to which was carefully 
guarded at that time so that I was not admitted behind the walls. The 
churches were with few exceptions still untouched and open to public 
worship. I saw two or three crowded with people devoutly following 
their ministers in the services of the Greek church. 

As there was no call for a passport, we proceeded on our way to the 
south, going directly to Rostov. Most of the people seemed to be well- 
fed. Their clothing was of an assorted variety. There was abundance of 
food at the railroad restaurants, at comparatively moderate prices. There 
were not very many trains running, and these were crowded to capacity. 
Unfortunately our party was not large enough to buy all four places in a 
sleeping compartment, although we offered to do so. At midnight, at some 
station, a Russian got into the upper berth opposite to where I slept. I 
did not know that anyone had gotten into the compartment. Before I 
waked up in the morning, the Russian had gone. While dressing, I dis- 
covered that my pocketbook, containing my American railroad passes 
and some pictures which I highly prized, had been stolen from my vest, 
which had been hanging near my head. The thief got little of value to 
himself, but things which were of real value to me. 

When we reached Vladikavkaz, we were hung up for some time 
through failure of the chauffeur (sent from Near East Headquarters at 
Tiflis) to find us. We had about given him up, and were preparing to hire 


quite expensive transportation, when the chauffeur accidentally saw Mr. 
Vickrey and recognized him from a picture he had seen in the Near East 

The drive from Vladikavkaz over the great Georgian military road 
of the Czar was a revelation to the party. No expense had been spared in 
the making of the road. We had seen no better road in Europe or in 
the United States. And the road wound through some of the finest moun- 
tain scenery in the world. At times snowy peaks rose high above us, and 
then we looked from the road on the side of the mountain into the val- 
leys and meadows thousands of feet below. The grading from the crest 
of the ridge to the valley below was splendidly done, but after the days 
from St. Petersburg to Tiflis, with their varying experiences, it was a 
great delight to get to a Near East Relief Headquarters controlled in 
every detail by good, old-fashioned American Christians. 

The main objective of the trip, however, was not Tiflis, but the great 
Near East Relief orphanage in Armenia, between Tiflis and Erivan, the 
capital of Armenia. At this orphanage there were seventeen thousand 
children, of all ages and sizes. It was a full day's work to go through all 
the buildings and to try to get some idea of the various forms of activities 
being carried on, in the physical, mental, and spiritual care of these 
children. On one day of the visit there was a general holiday given up 
to sports and stunts of various kinds. The children had been thoroughly 
drilled, and the great numbers taking part in many of the events gave 
unusual interest. Mr. Williams, one of the most expert of the National 
Geographic camera staff, was staying a few days at the great orphanage, 
and the pictures he secured of seventeen thousand children in mass 
activities of various kinds were unusually thrilling and spectacular. . . . 

Returning to Tiflis, I was confronted with the necessity of securing a 
Russian visa to my passport, permitting me to leave Russia. The officials 
gravely examined the document and informed me very solemnly that 
I had no right to be in Russia, that the passport allowed me only four 
days in Russia, and that I had already exceeded that time by ten days. 
They then considered the question whether, as I had no right to be in 
Russia, I should not be immediately expelled from Russia. I assured 
them that that would be a very satisfactory solution, provided that I was 
allowed to depart in the quickest way possible, via Batum and the Black 
Sea. They pondered the matter for several hours and then decided that 
they would fine me one thousand roubles, or at the rate of one hundred 
roubles per day, for my stay in the country. This fine was imposed, and 
the visa granted. But when they were informed that the fine would not be 
paid by me, but by the Near East Relief, and that it would have to be paid 


out of funds which were being used to feed the orphan children, residents 
of Russia, they then remitted the fine, and, with passport in order, the 
journey was made to Batum. 

In Batum the American party witnessed, for the first time, the amaz- 
ing Cossack custom of both sexes bathing together in public, absolutely 
nude. We went to the lengthy public bathing beach on the Black Sea, but 
were there faced with numerous nude men and women, bathing apart or 
together, lying around on the sand in groups, with no apparent sense of 
indecent exposure. The Greek representative of Near East Relief at 
Batum, a man of high standing and character, in discussing the matter 
with us, said that the best people did not engage in mixed nude bathing, 
and that the number of illegitimate children among those who did showed 
that indecency frequently ended in immorality. 

The trip through the length of the Black Sea to the Bosporus on a 
German oil tanker gave proof that there were large bodies of water 
which the party had never explored before. Many tedious days were 
spent steaming along the hilly shores of Asiatic Turkey. When at last 
the time came to pass through the straits and land in Constantinople, a 
very serious question arose. I had no passport visa from the Turkish 
government. In fact, the United States had, at that time, no diplomatic 
relations with Turkey. The infamous treaty of Lausanne, which had been 
signed by the Allied powers with Turkey, was a base betrayal by the 
Great Powers of their ally in the war, Christian Armenia. 10 When a 
similar treaty was negotiated between the United States and Turkey 
and was presented for ratification in the Senate, it was strongly opposed 
by a great number of Protestant leaders in the United States, among 
them being Dr. S. Parkes Cadman, Bishop W. T. Manning, and I. 
One of my old friends, Senator Claude A. Swanson, was the ranking 
Democratic member in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. I 
threw all my influence into the scale and most vigorously opposed the 
ratification of the treaty. When it came to a vote [1923], it was defeated 
by the very large proportion of Democratic Senators voting against 
it. The Turkish government was fully aware of my denunciation 
of its crimes and of my work against the treaty. It was a question, 
therefore, whether I should run the risk of landing in Constantinople 
at all, or whether I should transfer in the harbor to the French steamer 
which was to take me on to Greece. 

The leading Turkish Near East liaison man finally assured me that 
he could get me on shore and back on the other steamer without diffl- 

10. By the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), Christian communities in Turkey lost the 
autonomy that had been granted by the Treaty of Sevres (1920). 


culty. Trusting in that assurance, I landed once more in Constantinople, 
visited Robert College and the American Woman's College, and once 
again the great Mosque of St. Sophia. . . . 

On my arrival at Athens I called up my friend, Dr. Alivasatos, a 
professor in theology whom I had met at the Geneva meetings, and ar- 
ranged for an interview with Archbishop Chrysostom, the Metropolitan 
of Greece, a very able and cultured man. I obtained from the Archbishop 
a full and helpful statement of the results which had followed the ex- 
change of the Asia Minor Greeks into Greece proper, a transfer which 
had greatly increased the productive population of Greece, but which had 
also developed some difficult immediate problems. The Archbishop, ex- 
pressing his unmeasured gratitude for American assistance, indicated in 
what way further assistance could best be rendered. . . . 

In my tours of inspection of the Near East Relief work, I visited 
Syria, Palestine, and Egypt twice. The longest stay was made at Beirut, 
where the Near East Relief was carrying on some excellent orphanage 
and rehabilitation work. The refugees from Turkish hate and persecution 
were so numerous that the housing of them was almost a question of 
simply a bed rather than a roof, and adequate provision for family life 
was impossible. One characteristic was outstanding among the Armenian 
people. It was the determination to live, to maintain themselves as a 
distinct people, and in addition, the ability to maintain life under the 
most discouraging, even distressing conditions. The Armenian has had the 
reputation in the Near East of being more tenacious of life than the Jew, 
the Greek, or the Syrian, and of having the ability to maintain himself and 
to accumulate something more than bare maintenance in competition with 
other races. 

During my stay in Beirut I was entertained part of the time in the 
home of President Bayard Dodge of the American University. President 
Dodge is one of the twin sons of Cleveland H. Dodge, a great philanthro- 
pist, a great Democrat, and a friend of Cleveland and Wilson. The names 
of his sons show the political faith of the father, one being named 
Cleveland for the Democratic president, and the other Bayard for the 
Democratic Secretary of State under Cleveland. President Dodge had 
come to Beirut as a professor in the university and had married the 
daughter of Dr. Jessup, the celebrated Presbyterian missionary, president 
of the Presbyterian college. 

I was greatly surprised at the large enrollment and the fine equipment 
of the university. I spoke twice to the student body, which was rep- 
resentative of all the Near East countries and races; but whereas the 
former language of the Near East had been French, now the younger 


generation gave English the decided preference. Recognizing the cosmo- 
politan character of my audience, I spoke on the brotherhood of nations, 
making my address more realistic by scenes which I had witnessed in 
Geneva at the Assembly of the League of Nations. Having excited the 
interest of the student body by my first address, I discussed in my second 
address the brotherhood of man in Christ Jesus as the outstanding per- 
sonality of the ages, using as my texts, "Quit you like men," and "Be- 
hold the man." 

From Beirut, in company with thoroughly informed and experienced 
Near East Relief workers, I made the trip to Damascus, the Sea of 
Galilee, Nazareth, through the plain of Esdraelon and the backbone 
ridge of the country, and on to Jerusalem. . . . 

Some of the new Jewish colonies were passed on the way to Jerusalem 
and did not seem to be in a very thriving condition. I talked with some 
Jews who had been in America and learned from them that many of 
the colonists were too old to work and others knew nothing whatever 
about anything but purely clerical labor, and the colony was being kept 
alive at that time by relief money sent from the Jewish Palestine fund. 
On the way to Jerusalem and in Jerusalem, there was a great difference. 
The Germans were gone and the dream of German dominance of 
Palestine had vanished. Also the rule of the Turk was over, and the 
British Governor General, himself a Jew, and British troops maintained 
order in the country. There was great disquiet among the Arab and Mos- 
lem population generally. They felt that they were being squeezed out 
of the country by the large number of colonists; even those who had 
sold their land at a high price were among the discontented. It was 
evident that if the policy of continued colonization were carried out, the 
Jews would in time occupy practically all the country and greatly out- 
number the Moslems, but the question must be settled: Where will the 
Moslems go? 

I have visited Jerusalem five times, and while there have been hours 
of special enjoyment on every visit, yet on the whole each visit was some- 
what of a disappointment. On the Mount of Olives in Gethsemane and 
at the Garden Tomb it has been possible to envision the compassionate, 
suffering, and risen Lord, but in the city and at Bethlehem the spirit of 
commercialism and of exploitation for money has been so strong and 
evident even in the so-called "most holy places," that there has been not 
pleasure, but rather disgust in visiting them. . . . 


From the experience of my boyhood and youth I had firsthand in- 


formation as to the reasons for the divisions of Episcopal Methodism in 
the border states. I knew that circumstances arose in many cases where 
it was practically impossible for men and women with differing political 
views to live peaceably together, or to work effectively together, and 
where it was better for them to try to carry on and develop their spiritual 
activities apart from each other than not to develop the work at all. My 
college days at Princeton had brought me more closely into contact with 
ministers and members of the Methodist Episcopal Church than ever 
before, and I attended some of their conferences during those years. I 
found the Northern Methodist brethren to be quite friendly in personal 
relations, but still inclined to pass resolutions and to propose Home 
Mission activities in the Southern States, which were not helpful to 
fraternal relations. 11 

. . . From the beginning of my ministry, I had made a very close study 
of the relations existing between the Methodist Episcopal Church and the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South. I was fully committed not only in 
my feeling, but in my thinking to the position of the Southern Church. 
I always thought that the General Conference of 1844 took the wise and 
brotherly course, and I admired the spirit of both sides in the controversy, 
although entirely disagreeing with the arguments of the Northern dele- 
gates. When the Northern Methodist General Conference flatly re- 
pudiated the solemn agreements made in 1844 and began what I thought 
to be an unwarranted and unbrotherly attack upon the Methodist Episco- 
pal Church, South, I condemned this violation of the obligation solemnly 
entered into, and approved of the conduct of the Southern Church at its 
succeeding General Conferences. 12 

The action of one or two overzealous, fanatical Northern bishops in 
trying to take control of Southern Methodist churches by military force 
during the Civil War was so utterly abhorrent, not only to justice, but 
to common sense, that such a policy was speedily abandoned. The spend- 
ing of large sums of money to establish Northern Methodist churches 
throughout the South I thought to be not only unbrotherly, but really 
sinful. While there were a few groups in certain sections of the South 
which could be better ministered to by Northern Methodist preachers, 

1 1. The next three paragraphs have been transferred from the manuscript chapter 
on "General Church Activities." 

12. At the General Conference of 1844, a committee of nine reported that since the 
Methodist Episcopal Churches of the Southern slave-holding states had determined to 
unite separately, "ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church shall in no wise attempt 
to organize churches or societies within the limits of the Church, South, nor shall they 
attempt to exercise any pastoral oversight therein" {Journal of General Conference, 
Methodist Episcopal Church, 1844, pp. 135-137). 


these groups were not large, and unless missionary and church extension 
funds had been expended there would have been very few churches in 
the deep South with bona fide Northern Methodist membership. 

In the border states of Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Mis- 
souri, conditions were very different. Immediately following the Civil 
War, there were communities like my home town, Salisbury, Maryland, 
where political and sectional feelings ran so high that two churches seemed 
inevitable. But as population changed, and as a new generation grew 
up which had no personal knowledge of the days before the war, or of 
the war itself, the need for two churches in the same community di- 
minished steadily, and, on the other hand, the demand for united Method- 
ism steadily grew in strength. Nevertheless, the existence of two separate 
organizations, with different leadership and headquarters, frequently 
caused much friction and regrettable misunderstandings. The waste of 
men and money greatly needed for work elsewhere was confessed with 
shame by many broadminded leaders, but it seemed impossible to work 
out any plan for a genuine settlement. . . . 

From the beginning of my ministry I had read the New Yor\ 
Christian Advocate as regularly as the Advocates of my own Church, 
and I was not only interested in the work, but I admired the spirit of 
progressive activity in the Methodist Episcopal Church. I attended their 
General Conferences almost as regularly as I did my own. I studied 
their problems and their policies, and heartily approved, and as heartily 
disapproved, of some actions taken by their General Conferences when 
such actions were the result very largely of provincialism, or sheer 
ignorance of conditions in the South. At the Northern Methodist Con- 
ference in Los Angeles in 1904, thanks to the friendship of Dr. James M. 
Buckley, editor of the New Yor\ Christian Advocate}* I had a seat 
at the front from which both the platform and the floor of the General 
Conference were in full view. I had been acquainted with Dr. Buckley 
before the Southern Methodist General Conference of 1902, but after 
the reading of the minority report at the Conference, Dr. Buckley wrote 
me, warmly commending the position of the minority on the war claim 
in the General Conference of 1902, and inviting me to call and see him 
whenever I came to New York. 

The Los Angeles Methodist General Conference of 1904 was outstand- 
ing in some respects. Dr. L. W. Munhall, 14 a prominent local preacher 

13. James Monroe Buckley (i 836-1 920) was editor of the New Yor\ Christian Ad- 
vocate (1880-1912) and author of The Wrong and Peril of Woman Suffrage (1909) and 
The Constitutional and Parliamentary History of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1912). 

14. Leander Whitcomb Munhall (1843-1934) was an evangelist who averaged two 


of Philadelphia, the editor of an independent Methodist paper which had 
considerable circulation in that section of the church, along with others 
like-minded, had brought charges of dangerous, modernistic, un-Methodist 
teaching against the presidents and teachers of some of the leading 
Northern Methodist institutions. The hearings before the special com- 
mittee appointed to investigate the matter were very interesting. They 
involved very much the same questions as those which were analyzed 
and discussed by Dr. James McCosh and Dr. William Henry Green when 
I was a student at Princeton. In those days I reached the personal con- 
viction and belief that Christianity was a supernatural revelation from 
God; that Jesus Christ "was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under 
Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried, and the third day 
He arose again from the dead," that He is indeed our Divine Lord and 
Saviour; that if Christ is not risen from the dead, then is our faith 
vain, our hope is also vain, and we are yet in our sins, and Christianity 
is nothing but a delusion and a snare. 

The men accused by Dr. Munhall, notably Dr. Charles J. Little and 
Professor M. S. Terry of Northwestern University, and Dr. James R. 
Day, president of Syracuse University, asserted most positively their 
belief in the supernatural origin of Christianity, and in the resurrection of 
Jesus Christ. The special committee was satisfied with the declarations 
of faith made by the accused teachers, and the report of the committee 
was adopted by the General Conference. While there were some sharp 
criticisms of Dr. Munhall, I did not regret that the investigation had been 
made, and that the men accused of subversive teaching had made their 
position clear, thereby strengthening the faith of the Church in its in- 
stitutions of learning . . . . 15 

My association with the leadership of the Northern Methodist Church 
at Los Angeles in 1904 caused me to think more seriously of the value 
and of the possibility of Methodist union. In 1906, at our General Con- 
ference in Birmingham, Dr. Thomas H. Lewis, president of Western 
Maryland College and president of the Methodist Protestant General 
Conference, made a notable address on Methodist union; indeed I am 

sermons a day for more than fifty years to an estimated seventeen million people. He 
edited the Methodist and was the author of several books including The Highest Critics 
vs. the Higher Critics (1896). 

15. Cannon felt rather strongly on this subject. On one occasion, Dr. S. G. Bland, 
Canadian theologian, delivered a series of lectures at Lake Junaluska. According to 
Cannon, he took "the extreme higher critical viewpoint." When a bouquet of flowers 
and "resolutions of thanks" were presented to Bland, Cannon, according to his own 
words, "arose in the audience and entered positive protest against those portions of Dr. 
Bland's addresses which had challenged the authority of the Scriptures and the knowl- 
edge of Christ and of Paul." 


inclined to think it was the strongest appeal I have ever heard, consider- 
ing the time of the utterance (1906) and the conditions under which the 
address was made. It produced a great impression upon the General 
Conference and greatly forwarded the sentiment for union. Practically 
the same address was delivered by Dr. Lewis at the Northern Methodist 
General Conference in Baltimore in 1908, at which time, however, the 
fraternal messenger from our Church, Dr. Collins Denny, made an ad- 
dress which somewhat lessened the effect of Dr. Lewis's appeal. 

In 191 0, however, a commission was appointed to consider the ques- 
tion of closer federation between the Methodist Churches, and this com- 
mission worked on during that quadrennium and in 191 4 brought in 
a report of progress, which was fully discussed both in committee and 
on the floor of the General Conference. I took an active part in the dis- 
cussion, and proposed an amendment. . . . 

After this amendment had been adopted, the report as a whole was 
adopted appointing a commission to negotiate with a like commission 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church. As the chairman of the delegation of 
the largest conference in the connection, and a border Conference at that, 
as having taken part in the discussion, and having proposed the amend- 
ment which secured the adoption of the report, it was naturally to be 
expected that I would be appointed a member of the commission, but 
for some reason best known to themselves "the powers that were" did not 
care to have me on the commission, and I was not appointed. This, 
however, did not in any way afreet my attitude on the question of 

In the spring of 191 my father died at my home at Blackstone, and 
before his death he said to me: 

"My son, you are fully acquainted with the history of the division 
of the churches at Salisbury, the reasons which caused that divison, and 
which I fully believe enabled Methodism to render a larger and more 
efficient service to the community. That time, however, has passed. I 
do not think that the two Methodist Churches in Salisbury should unite, 
but I do think the time has come for the union of Methodism throughout 
the country. Judging by conditions as they now exist, if you live long 
enough, I expect you will be in a position to further the cause of union, 
and I hope that you will do so." 

As I have indicated in another chapter of this book, I had the high- 
est respect not only for my father's Christian character, but for his 
breadth of thought and vision, and after his death I studied the question 
of union more carefully than ever before. 


So by the time of the General Conference of 1914 I had reached the 
point that I was convinced that some kind of federation was not only 
possible, but desirable. I talked the matter over very fully with my good 
friend, Dr. James M. Buckley, who was then in the last years of his 
leadership of the Northern Methodist Church. We agreed personally that 
organic union was a goal to be desired, but that it could not be pressed 
as long as it would produce more friction in the membership of the two 
churches than it would allay. We never at any time believed that 
organic union forced by a majority on a considerable unwilling minority 
was desirable. On the contrary we agreed that no union was desirable 
which was not satisfactory to the great body of the two Churches, 
especially to the border Conferences where the Churches had been in 
competition, sometimes in conflict, for over sixty years. To attempt to 
force organic union of a kind that the border Conferences did not ap- 
prove would result in a loss of members of both churches, either to the 
Presbyterian, Episcopalian, or some other denomination, or to the estab- 
lishment of independent Methodist churches. 

In all my talks with Northern Methodists, in all my speeches on the 
Conference floor, and in my editorials in the Richmond Advocate, and 
articles contributed to other Church papers, I stated very positively that 
the greatest difficulty in the way was the relation of the colored member- 
ship of the Methodist Episcopal Church. I pointed out that the Northern 
Methodists' position was thoroughly illogical, although probably not to 
be called insincere, but simply expediential. I emphasized that up to 
that time the Methodist Episcopal Church had elected no Negro bishops, 
that the Negro congregations were in separate Negro Conferences, except 
in a very few places, and that all the Negro ministers, with few excep- 
tions, were in Conferences with no white members. I therefore favored 
the adoption of a resolution calling for the union of the various colored 
Methodist churches in America, including in that union the colored 
members of the Northern Methodist Church. In the event that all the 
Negro Methodist bodies did not unite to form one Church, I insisted 
that organic union was feasible and desirable, provided the relationship 
between the white and colored ministers and members as they actually 
existed in the Northern Methodist Church should be fixed by legislation 
for the united Church. I held that the actual practice in the Northern 
Methodist Church afforded no logical ground for objection on the part of 
that Church to such legislation as part of the Plan of Unification. 

The commission appointed at Oklahoma City in 1914 did not secure 
satisfactory results. In the meanwhile my editorials in the Richmond 
Advocate and contributed articles had been so widely read that when the 


General Conference met in Atlanta in 191 8 I was elected by the vote 
of practically all of those really desiring unification to be chairman of 
the Commission on Church Relations. After full discussion I framed 
resolutions which commanded the support of a large majority of the 
committee. . . and the majority report was adopted with practical unanim- 
ity [by the General Conference in 1918], some of the Mississippi del- 
egates still opposing it. 16 

Having been elected to the episcopacy, I was appointed as one of the 
five bishops on the new Commission on Unification, and, as the author 
of the resolutions under which the commission was constituted and 
working, I was probably more active in debate and committee work to 
secure a suitable plan than any other member of the Southern Commis- 
sion, except Bishop Collins Denny, who was very active in his opposition 
to the plan proposed. 

The joint commission appointed a subcommittee of ten, five from 
each Church, to work out the draft of a plan to be submitted to the full 
commission. Of this committee of ten, Bishop Edgar Blake 17 and I were 
cochairmen. We held a meeting at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond 
and prepared a plan which was submitted to the joint commission, by 
which it was adopted .... The report of the proceedings of the joint 
commission shows that ... the discussion turned very largely upon the 
relationship of the Negroes to the united Church. 

When the report as approved by the joint commission was presented 
to the Northern Methodist Conference at Des Moines in 1920, it was 
there referred to a very large committee, which, after discussing it nearly 
the entire time of the General Conference, failed to present the report 
squarely before the General Conference, but brought in recommendations 
calling for a large convention of the two Churches. This failure of the 
Northern Methodist General Conference to take affirmative action on the 
plan, proposing to substitute for direct action the consideration of the 
matter by a large convention of the two Churches, brought to an end the 
work of the joint commission as then constituted. 

The same Northern Methodist General Conference decided to elect 
two colored ministers to the episcopacy. It was recognized that it would 

16. The majority report recommended "the continuance of a commission to act in 
conjunction with the Commission of the Methodist Episcopal Church," and "that they 
make a practical advance toward" unification "by closer co-operation in their various 
activities." There was a minority report supported by Bishop John S. Candler, but 
Cannon succeeded in answering the objections so well that Candler withdrew the 
minority report. 

17. Edgar Blake (1869-1943), New Hampshire pastor, was active in Sunday School 
work and elected bishop in 1920. 



be impossible to secure such election without the adoption of a special rule 
calling for the election of two Negro bishops entirely apart from the 
balloting for white bishops. It was understood that, if such a regulation 
was not adopted, no colored man would be elected. 

So two Negro bishops were elected by the Northern General Con- 
ference of 1920. When assignments were made for episcopal supervision, 
the colored bishops were given only colored Conferences, although some 
of the colored Conferences were put under the supervision of white 
bishops as heretofore. Although these colored bishops were in office for 
nineteen years before the Plan of Unification was finally adopted, never 
were they given supervision over any white Conference. While I no 
longer had editorial control of any paper, I did not fail to emphasize this 
continuation by the Northern Methodist General Conference of the 
actual drawing of the color line. While I considered it to be the wise 
plan for the Northern Methodist Church in the carrying on of its work 
— indeed, the necessary course to be followed — yet I declared that it 
emphasized even more strongly the position of the Southern Methodist 
Church that this sensible recognition of racial differences must become 
a part of any plan of Methodist unification. 

Notwithstanding the action of the Northern Methodist General Con- 
ference in 1920, at our General Conference at Memphis in 1922 I earnestly 
advocated the continuation of negotiations by the appointment of a new 
commission to confer with a like commission of the Northern Church. . . . 

I was again appointed as one of the Southern bishops on the Joint 
Unification Commission. After several meetings this commission wrought 
out a plan which was adopted by a vote of the Northern Methodist 
commissioners . . . and of the Southern Methodist commissioners by a vote 
of 19 to 6. It was submitted first to the General Conference of the 
Northern Church, meeting in Springfield, Massachusetts, in May 1924, 
and received an overwhelming majority of that General Conference. 18 

In accordance with the action taken by our General Conference 
at Hot Springs in 1922, the College of Bishops of our Church met, and 

18. This plan called for a united church with two "Jurisdictions" which would coin- 
cide with the accepted jurisdictions of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South. Each vote in the General Conference of the united church was 
to "require the accepted majority vote of each Jurisdiction to be effective." A bishop 
could be " assigned to administer in any part of the Church, provided that when he is 
assigned to administer within the jurisdiction other than that by which he was elected, 
it shall be with the consent of the majority of the Bishops of the Jurisdiction involved." 
The commission, furthermore, recommended "that financial support of the Colored 
Methodist Episcopal Church be continued by the Jurisdiction with which it is historically 
related . . ." (Report of the Joint Commission printed in the Daily Christian Advocate 
[Methodist Episcopal Church], May 6, 1924, pp. 122 ff.). 


after an extended discussion, called a special session of the General Con- 
ference to be held at Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 2, 1924. This call 
was signed by nine of the bishops. 

Five of the bishops registered their opposition to the call, criticizing 
in unusually severe terms the action of the majority of the college. 19 When 
the time for the meeting of the General Conference on July 2 at Chat- 
tanooga came, I was in New York at the Democratic National Conven- 
tion, acting as chairman of the National Legislative Committee of the 
Anti-Saloon League of America, and as chairman of the Commission on 
Temperance and Social Service of our Church, working to prevent the 
adoption of a wet plank, or the nomination of a wet candidate, by the 
Democratic party. I left the convention at a very critical time, however, 
to go to Chattanooga. I expressed to my colleagues my positive con- 
viction that the College of Bishops should not make any statement of any 
kind to the General Conference, except to transmit the report of the 
commission, reciting the action of the General Conference at Hot 
Springs in 1922, by authority of which this special session at Chattanooga 
had been called. 

It was the understanding on the part of the majority of the bishops 
that no statement would be made by any of them, but Bishop Collins 
Denny, one of the minority, read a very lengthy paper, which was in 
fact an argument against the Plan of Unification, and which was, of 
course, quite provocative of reply. But notwithstanding that I recognized 
very fully that the majority group of the bishops had the right to make 
reply, I opposed the injection of any of the bishops into the debate. 
After two days of earnest speeches, in which the legality of the call and the 
proposed plan were both fully discussed, the General Conference voted 
188 to 102 in favor of the Plan of Unification. This vote was largely in 
excess of the required two-thirds majority. The plan was ordered to be 
sent down to the Annual Conferences of 1925 for the vote of the ministers 
and laymen of the several Annual Conferences. 

As the plan had been approved by the General Conferences of both 
Churches, it was the general expectation that it would be approved by the 
Annual Conferences. There was little doubt that it would be approved 
by the Annual Conferences of the Northern Methodist Church, as no 
active, outstanding leadership had developed against it. But in our 
Southern Church the situation was quite different. By far the ablest and 

19. The bishops who opposed were Warren A. Candler, Collins Denny, U. V. W. 
Darlington, and J. E. Dickey (Richmond Christian Advocate, May 30, 1924). Bishop 
Ainsworth had also disagreed with some aspects of the Unification Plan (James Cannon, 
"Shall We Unite," June 30, 1924, Cannon MSS). 


most influential opponent of the plan was Bishop Warren A. Candler. 
He was the recognized leader of the anti-unificationists, and made a vig- 
orous attack, not simply upon the plan itself, but upon certain conditions 
which he claimed existed in the Northern Methodist Church which made 
any real union between the two Churches impossible. He emphasized 
the views and practices of the Northern Methodist Church in the matter 
of race relations, and especially what he claimed were the exteme modern- 
istic tendencies and beliefs of a large number of the preachers and teachers 
of that Church. 

While I was absent in Europe and the Near East in the summer 
of 1924 our commission met and appointed a small committee, with 
Bishop Edwin D. Mouzon as chairman, to conserve and develop the 
unification sentiment in our own Church. I was not present at the 
meeting. If I had been there, I would have taken the same position I 
took in reference to the participation of the bishops in the discussions 
at the Chattanooga Conference. I knew that Bishop Candler was not 
only one of the ablest men in the Church, but that he was unusually 
strong in discussion and controversy, and that his articles would com- 
mand a wide reading. I thought the wiser plan would be to let him 
state his position and make his attack, and, except where persons were 
involved, to enter into no discussion with him. But Bishop Mouzon did 
not hold that view, and thought he should make reply to Bishop Candler's 
articles. He was not, however, temperamentally suited to carry on a 
discussion with Bishop Candler. He was high-strung and, like a spirited 
horse, when Bishop Candler coolly and systematically tapped him smart- 
ly on the flanks, he was incited to reply with considerable warmth. 

Very soon an exceedingly sharp discussion developed, which was not 
confined to the Plan of Unification, but personalities became involved so 
that shortly, in the minds of many, the matter of the approval or the 
rejection of the plan became inextricably involved in the approval or 
disapproval of the arguments and statements made by different persons. 
Indeed by December, 1924, personal issues began to loom much larger 
than did the question of unification. 

I received a letter about that time from one of my closest ministerial 
friends, stating very frankly that he had been with me and worked with 
me and fought with me ever since we had joined the Conference, but 
that in the present situation his sympathies and his affection were with the 
"old man" (Candler), and that he thought he would vote against the 
plan, largely, he confessed, on personal grounds. 

At the meeting of the Federal Council of Churches in Atlanta in 
December, 1924, a number of the leading unification leaders came to me 


and expressed their distress at the turn which the discussion had taken 
and their great fear that the plan would be defeated by a good majority. 
I could but agree that the situation was exceedingly unsatisfactory, and 
I feared that they were right. They then stated that they wished me to 
agree to become the chairman of a special campaign committee, to have 
charge of the unification side until the Annual Conferences had voted. I 
fully recognized what had happened, and what had caused the growth 
of the opposition to the adoption of the plan. But I declined to give an 
answer at that time, stating that I would give an answer after full con- 
sideration at Nashville two weeks later, when there was to be a meeting 
of representative church leaders on another matter. 

At the Nashville meeting the matter was discussed from various angles 
with unusual frankness. I stated to the group gathered in that conference 
that I greatly deplored the trend of affairs, and I realized that the 
methods which had been followed had greatly influenced many persons 
to vote against the plan, who had formerly been undecided, or even in- 
clined to vote for unification. I said that, after a very careful canvass 
and checkup of the situation throughout the Church, I did not think it 
was possible to secure the constitutional majority of three-fourths, but 
that I believed that if from that time on certain methods were followed 
a simple majority for the plan could be secured, especially of the ministe- 
rial voters. I agreed that I would act as chairman of a campaign com- 
mittee on two conditions: first, that I should have full authority in the 
conduct of the campaign, that I should be responsible for whatever print- 
ed matter, circulars, pamphlets, newspaper articles, etc., were issued as 
representing unification leadership; that, of course, I did not mean that 
I would ask or expect to control the columns of the Church press, or to 
insist that all articles for the adoption of the plan should be submitted 
to me, but that everything which emanated from the recognized advocates 
of unification should first be sent to me for my consideration before 
publication, and that it would not be published if I objected. The second 
condition was that I should have nothing to do with the raising of 
money, but that whatever legitimate expense was incurred in carrying on 
the work should be raised by a finance committee. 

After frank discussion concerning both conditions, in which dis- 
cussion I made it perfectly clear that I would not assume the responsibility 
and the burden of the advocacy of a cause which I knew was already de- 
feated unless my conditions were agreed to and carried out, the group 
voted to accept my conditions, and I agreed to give all the time possible 
from my other work to the unification campaign. Bishop Mouzon was 
especially disturbed at my first condition, and we had a very free and full 


discussion. He inquired definitely, with some personal feeling, whether 
I really meant that he could not write any articles for the Church press 
without submitting them to me before publication. I told him that I did 
mean exactly that, and that I would not think of taking on the heavy work 
involved in the campaign, unless my position of direction and control 
was recognized by him and all other members of the commission who 
favored unification. He was apparently much dissatisfied, but the senti- 
ment of the group had been so unanimous in its agreement with me 
that he reluctantly consented. 

I regret to state, however, that, while my relations with Bishop Mouzon 
had never been intimate, as I had never been thrown with him closely in 
my work except in the meetings of the general boards, from that time 
on I sensed a decided coolness in his attitude toward me. It was a matter 
for which I was not in any way responsible, and was not of my making. 
We were temperamentally almost at the opposite extremes, and probably 
neither one could appreciate the other at his full value. 

As indicated above, it was with much hesitation that I assumed this 
responsibility of leadership for the adoption of the plan. I was satisfied in 
January, 1925, that, if called upon to vote at that time, a majority of the 
voters in the Annual Conferences would vote against it. I had no hope 
whatever that the requisite three-fourths' majority could be secured, but 
I thought the plan was a good one, and I did want it to secure at least 
a simple majority in our Church, and with that definite purpose I agreed 
to accept a heavy, and, in a measure, a somewhat thankless task. At that 
time the bishops who were opposed to the plan had the supervision over 
the larger home Conferences in the Church, while some of the most active 
advocates of the plan had smaller home or mission Conferences, I my- 
self having the Mexican Conferences and Cuba, all of which together 
had not over six votes. 

The first Annual Conference to vote on the plan was Baltimore. I 
attended the Conference, which was presided over by Bishop Candler. 
Probably the ablest and most active advocate of the plan in the Baltimore 
Conference, Dr. John H. Light, had died during the Conference year. 
Bishop Denny, who had been a member of the Baltimore Conference 
until his election as bishop, was strongly opposed to the plan, and had 
a large following in the Conference. 

Bishop Candler presided and wielded great influence in the final re- 
sult. His ruling in connection with the method of voting by the Con- 
ference in my judgment largely affected the result. The Conference de- 
cided after discussion that the vote on unification should be taken by 
ballot. Greatly to my amazement, Bishop Candler ruled that if one-fifth 


of the members demanded a roll call it was their constitutional right to 
have the vote taken that way. The vote was taken and the plan defeat- 
ed. .. . 

Notwithstanding the later action of the College of Bishops in re- 
versing Bishop Candler's ruling at the Baltimore Conference, the effect of 
the negative vote of that border Conference was very great, and was, in 
my judgment, one of the deciding factors in the vote of the other Annual 

That summer, before going to Europe, I prepared and issued in 
pamphlet form a somewhat lengthy statement on " The Present Status 
of Methodist Unification." This statement took up in detail the historical 
development of the unification movement, my own personal experiences 
in a border town and as a prohibition speaker and worker in the Northern 
Methodist Church territory, the objections to the plan on the ground of 
incompatibility of education and ideas, on the ground of diverse, almost 
contradictory, views on race relations, on the grounds of modernism, 
and differing views on evangelism, and emphasized the positive reasons 
for unification. 

From the letters which came to our office I believe that the statement 
was instrumental in securing that for which I had been working — an 
actual majority for the plan. When the vote was finally tabulated, there 
was a majority of 420 clerical votes in favor of the Plan of Unification. 

I greatly appreciated a letter from Bishop Luther B. Wilson, a native 
of Baltimore, and a lifelong member of the [Methodist Episcopal] Balti- 
more Conference, who like myself had been brought up on the border, and 
who knew all about the competition and strife and the need for a final 
settlement. He wrote: "Your final pamphlet was the fairest, fullest 
presentation of the real facts that I have ever read and both Churches owe 
you a great debt of gratitude for writing it, even though your Church 
fails to adopt the plan. . . ." 

After the failure of the Southern Church to give the constitutional 
three-fourths' majority for the proposed plan, the General Conference of 
1926 decided that it would not continue the Commission on Unification 
at that time, but appointed instead a Committee on Fraternal Relations, 
and did not appoint another commission until the General Conference 
of 1934, when it appointed a Commission on Interdenominational Re- 
lations and Church Union, composed of five bishops, ten other ministers, 
and ten laymen, to confer with a like commission of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church and of the Methodist Protestant Church. During 
those eight years I continued to emphasize my belief that the unification 
of the three Methodisms was both desirable and feasible. 


World-wide Church Work (1920-1927) 

My great interest in the world-wide work of the church led me to 
study every movement or organization whose aim was to try to ac- 
complish something by united effort which could not be done separately. 
I attended, therefore, the meeting held in Carnegie Hall in 1905 at which 
the first steps were taken to organize the Federal Council of Churches 
of Christ in America. I have attended every meeting of the Federal 
Council from its organization. Since 1916 I have been a representative 
of my Church in the Federal Council, and was a member of the former 
executive committee and of the administrative committee from the time 
of its organization until it was abolished and the new executive com- 
mittee given its functions. I always attended the meetings of the ad- 
ministrative committee unless providentially hindered. I traveled time 
and again from Birmingham to New York and back, to be there for 
the one day of the committee meeting. 

In the year 1920 I was brought in contact with many of the most 
prominent European church leaders at the meeting at Geneva at which 
time continuation committees were created for both the Faith and Order 
Movement and the Life and Work Movement, of both which committees 
I was made a member. The meeting at the Beaujour Hotel in Geneva was 
memorable because of the meeting for the first time after World War I 
of representatives of the French and German religious leaders. It was 
still difficult for them to speak peaceably one with another, and they 
could not take the floor without emphasizing their grievances against 
each other. 

When matters were somewhat at fever heat, I spoke, calling attention 
to the fact the representatives of the Northern and the Southern Method- 
ist Churches were both present at the meeting and were in most de- 
lightful fraternal relations. But, I said, that was not so when the Civil 
War in America ended. The Northern Methodists thought the Southern 
Methodists were wrong, and the Southern Methodists knew the Northern 
Methodists were wrong, and their relations were very unhappy. While 
time had probably not changed their convictions as to the Tightness or 
wrongness of what had happened nearly sixty years ago, they had learned 
to agree that they had "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One 
God, the Father of all." While the French and German brethren were 
now inclined to emphasize their grievances, why not agree to be one 
in Christ Jesus now instead of waiting forty years ? The Conference ended 
with a much better spirit among the foreign delegates than when it be- 

WORLD-WIDE CHURCH WORK (1920-1927) 247 

I had been appointed by the Administrative Committee to be a rep- 
resentative of the Federal Council at the tercentenary celebration of 
the sailing of the Pilgrim Fathers from Leyden, Holland, and later from 
Plymouth, England, in 1620. With my oldest daughter, Lura Lee, I at- 
tended both celebrations. The plans for the Leyden celebration were 
exceedingly well-wrought and were carried through in a most admirable 
way. Foreign delegates were entertained by the leading citizens of Ley- 
den, and my daughter and I had a most delightful visit for a week in the 
home of a high-class Dutch family. . . . 

I attended the first meeting of the League of Nations Assembly 
[1920] and was greatly thrilled to see representatives of the fifty nations 
of the world gathered together in common council. I felt very keenly the 
absence of the United States from the Assembly. I have always felt that 
Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and his followers must meet an awful re- 
sponsibility at the bar of history for keeping out of the Council of the 
nations of the world the one great nation which could have exerted such 
tremendous influence in securing and in preserving the peace of the 
world, and in the promotion of world-wide industrial, social, and moral 

I believed this attempted isolation was a selfish shirking of obligation 
and a futile effort at isolation in a world which is necessarily tied to- 
gether economically, socially, and religiously. I believed that the attempted 
isolation of a nation, its refusal to join in a great effort of other nations 
to solve world-wide problems which necessarily affected all nations, was 
as foolish and as selfish as the attempt of individuals in a community, 
state, or nation to set themselves apart in a select, privileged class, as 
though they could really exist without any contacts with the other 
people about them. I believed that the British Empire, including her 
colonies — Canada, South Africa, Australia, and India — with the United 
States at her side, would have been such a powerful combination united 
in general purposes that it could have dominated the thought and action 
of the entire Assembly. 

I made friends with some of the League of Nations officials and for 
thirteen years was present at the opening session of the Assembly, be- 
coming acquainted with the representatives of many of the nations, 
especially in the effort which was put forward to include a thorough 
study of the alcohol problem on the agenda of the Assembly. I greatly 
regretted that the Assembly of the League failed to apply sanctions 
against Japan in its unwarranted spoliation of China. I regretted even 
more the half-hearted, ineffective sanctions which it invoked against Italy 
in its cruel, unjustifiable war against Abyssinia. I felt satisfied that if the 


United States had been a member of the League, both Japan and Italy 
could and would have been restrained in carrying out their violations of 
the rights of weaker nations. 

In January, 1920, the Board of Missions held a called meeting at 
McKendree Church, Nashville, at which, after a presentation of the great 
needs of several of the European countries, the following resolution was 
adopted : 

Resolved, that the deputation to Europe be and are hereby urged to give 
special study in their visit at this time to the question of the relative extent 
of relief work, temporary co-operative work, and direct and permanent Mis- 
sionary work which we should undertake ... in these various European 

Following out this resolution, I sailed for Europe and there, in 
company with Dr. D. A. Sloan, at that time treasurer of the Belgian 
Mission, and Dr. R. Hercod, I visited several nations of Central Europe 
to do the work assigned me by the Board of Missions, and also in con- 
nection with the work of the Permanent Committee of the International 
League against Alcoholism. 20 Dr. Hercod, who for many years has been 
the outstanding temperance leader on the continent of Europe, and who 
speaks fluently all the languages of Central Europe as well as Italian, 
French, and English, was an invaluable aid. The principal investigations 
for the Board of Missions were made in Poland and Czechoslovakia, 
going as far south as Teschen and Cracow, as far east as Warsaw and 
Vilna, and as far north as Danzig and Holland. 

The situation in Poland was pitiable, indeed desolate. Cold, hunger, 
and disease were bringing death to thousands of the population, in- 
cluding a large proportion of children. The United States Relief Ad- 
ministration, under the direction of Mr. Herbert Hoover, was carrying 
on a great lifesaving enterprise. He could not begin, however, to give 
full rations to all the needy people. The Relief Administration did 
furnish every day in Warsaw a quart of strong, nourishing soup for 
which the people came at stated hours, each person once daily. I stood 
one day at the distribution center and saw the lines coming from four 
different streets to secure the daily lifesaver. 

I realized that the amount appropriated by the Board of Missions was 
not sufficient to set up an organization, and after consultation with the 
Hoover officials, I arranged to pay a certain amount for the distribution 
of food, especially to children. I also arranged for the support of a very 
important hospital work, which was about to be closed and the staff 

20. See pp. 284-285, 292-293. 

WORLD-WIDE CHURCH WORK (1920-1927) 249 

dismissed for lack o£ funds to continue the work. I was much distressed 
at my inability to respond to the appeals for help which poured in upon 
me as soon as it was known that I was doing relief work. 

As soon as I presented my papers to the American Ambassador, I 
was provided with comfortable quarters and given every possible as- 
sistance. I had several conversations with Marshal Pilsudski, who, while 
a Roman Catholic, yet was very liberal in his views. He expressed to me 
the great thanks of the Polish government for the relief which I was 
bringing in the name of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. I was 
greatly impressed by the rugged honesty, the exceeding simplicity, and 
the native ability of Pilsudski. His genuine, unselfish patiotism, his un- 
faltering courage, his personal, sacrificial labor, had been shown by his 
record. Personal contact emphasized that he had been raised up to be 
the deliverer and founder of the New Poland. Pilsudski himself would 
never have agreed to any persecution of our people in Poland, but the Ro- 
man Catholic hierarchy and the priesthood generally look upon Poland 
as the property of the Romish Church and endeavor to ignore as far 
as possible the provisions for religious liberty and freedom of worship 
contained in the Constitution of Poland, which is her charter of existence 
among the Allied Powers. 

From Warsaw the route was to Prague. Here there was general re- 
lief work being done by several agencies, but the great need was by no 
means met. The question of how to do the most good with a limited 
amount of money was difficult to determine. The leaders of the various 
Protestant bodies in Prague were called together in conference and an 
effort made to get from them a statement of their knowledge of the 
situation. Major Gethmann, of the Y.M.C.A., and Miss Crawford, of 
the Y.W.C.A., were themselves carrying on very important lines of re- 
lief work. They were well informed and prudent in counsel. The 
American Minister, Mr. Richard Crane, and his wife took great interest 
in the formulation of my plans, and attended the English service on the 
day when I preached to a large congregation. Enthusiasm concerning the 
United States had been great in Poland, but in Czechoslovakia it was 
manifested on every hand. It was especially evident in their admiration 
for President Wilson, for whom a monument was erected facing one of 
the principal railroad stations, which was named the Wilson Station. 

The most important contact I made in Czechoslovakia was with 
President Masaryk and his family and with the then Prime Minister, 
Edouard Benes. At the time President Masaryk, with his family, was 
out of the city at a place about sixty miles from Prague. Prime Minister 
Benes arranged for a conference with the President, and he himself 


drove Dr. Sloan, Dr. Hercod, and me to the President's home. President 
Masaryk had lived for several years in the United States and had married 
a Brooklyn lady, thus making his family half-American. 

I told him that I was thinking of using the money which would be 
available from the church appropriation to meet two specific needs which 
would not be met by general relief funds. In the first place, a very large 
number of students had come from the Balkan states and from Czecho- 
slovakia to the University of Prague, hoping in some way to get sufficient 
support to carry them through the university course. Investigation had 
shown that a large percentage of the student body was not getting more 
than one meal a day, and their physical condition was deteriorating very 
dangerously. I proposed to put into the hands of the university authorities 
sufficient funds to furnish necessary food up to the limit of two thousand 
students for one year. I will never forget the enthusiasm of the students 
when the announcement was made. 

I had also found that while the relief organization had been furnishing 
food and clothing to the masses of the people, the Protestant pastors and 
their wives and children had had practically no new clothes of any kind 
since the beginning of the war. I proposed to furnish each pastor with 
a new suit of clothes [and to provide] new clothes, including undercloth- 
ing, for their families. After these two needs were met, I proposed to 
arrange with the relief administration to furnish food to as many needy 
families as possible. 

President Masaryk heartily approved of the kind of relief proposed. 
The day was delightfully spent in a discussion of the new life which 
had opened to the Czech people, and later of plans for the International 
Conference against Alcoholism. President Masaryk and Prime Minister 
Benes were both total abstainers and were greatly pleased at the adoption 
of the Eighteenth Amendment by the United States, and promised their 
official support to the work of the Congress on Alcoholism. . . . 

When our party had reached the border of Holland, the Dutch officers 
raised such objections to our passports that it seemed that we would be 
obliged to remain at the border for two or three days. This did not suit 
our plans. Dr. Hercod and I asked that [the official] call up Baron Ruys 
de Beerenbrouck, the Prime Minister of Holland, over long-distance. The 
official rather stoutly demurred, but. we as stoutly insisted; so the call 
was made. To the amazement of the official, after I had explained to the 
Prime Minister our difficulty about passports and our necessity to press for- 
ward on our journey to see him at The Hague the next day, he personally 
directed the official to pass us through on the first train. This was done, 
and we had our interview with the Prime Minister the following morning 

WORLD-WIDE 'CHURCH WORK (1920-1927) 251 

with reference to his participation in the Congress against Alcoholism, of 
which he was the vice-president. I had met him several times before at 
meetings of this congress. 

The interview with M. Vandervelde, the Socialist Prime Minister 
of Belgium, was exceedingly pleasant. The memory of the feeding of 
the Belgians during the war by America was still very fresh in the minds 
of Belgian people, especially of a man of broad sympathies and liberal 
views like the Prime Minister. He had been brought into contact with 
American missionaries several years before when he went to the Belgian 
Congo to defend Dr. William Morrison, of the Southern Presbyterian 
Mission in the Congo, against charges brought through the machinations 
of the Roman Catholics that he had been guilty of conspiracy against 
the government. He had successfully defended Dr. Morrison, knew the 
character of the mission work; and the Socialist party of Belgium, under 
his leadership, prevented the Roman Catholics from breaking down the 
provisions of the treaty securing the right to all Protestant bodies to 
preach and teach in the Congo. The acquaintance formed with M. Van- 
dervelde at that time has been quite valuable during all of my episcopal 
administration in the Belgian Congo. This first interview with him was 
on purely relief matters for the good of Belgium with no special re- 
ference to religious work. 

This initial trip to Belgium, Poland, and Czechoslovakia developed an 
interest in those countries, and since I visited them several times later, 
I came to know the European mission field of my Church quite well. 
The Orient is really the only mission field of the Church with which I 
have had no personal contacts, except that two of the missionaries in Japan 
were teachers at Blackstone for several years before going to that 

In January, 1921, Dr. Robert E. Speer, president of the Federal 
Council, appointed me to be chairman of the Commission on Relations 
with Religious Bodies in Europe. During the four years of my chair- 
manship many very important matters arose in connection with the year- 
ly meetings of American and European religious leaders. The breach 
between the French and German leaders did not heal as rapidly as that 
between the German and the English, and especially the American lead- 
ers. The French were still very sore because of the German invasion of 
France, and the Germans very distrustful of French expressions of 
friendliness or brotherhood. As chairman of the American group for 
four years, I did everything possible to quiedy bring the separated breth- 
ren closer together. 

At last at a Conference held in Bethesda Church, Copenhagen, in 


1922, as chairman representing the Americans, I presented a plan for the 
establishment of the Central Bureau of Relief for needy European 
churches, to be located at Geneva with Dr. Adolph Keller, a Swiss pastor, 
as director. The Federal Council proposed to pay the salary of the director 
and to make as liberal contributions as possible to the work of the 
bureau. This action was taken in the summer [of 1922] when there 
was a great convention of the World Alliance for International Friend- 
ship through the Churches. 

All the Conferences from 1920 to 1925 were preparatory, in a measure, 
for the great Life and Work Conference held at Stockholm in the 
summer of 1925. This Conference, under the leadership of that very able, 
versatile, and godly man, Archbishop Soderblom of the Church of 
Sweden, was in every way one of the greatest Protestant Conferences 
which has ever been held. It was the more remarkable in that World 
War I had ended only seven years before, but there were present rep- 
resentatives from every Protestant body in Europe and from most of the 
larger Protestant bodies of the United States, along with the outstanding 
leaders of the orthodox Greek Church. Exceedingly careful preparations 
for the Conference were made in advance. Commissions on various sub- 
jects were appointed and met in Sweden several days before the meeting 
of the conference itself. . . . 21 

The German delegates to the Stockholm Conference were greatly 
divided on the question of the supremacy of the church in all matters 
pertaining to morals and doctrines. Many of them held to the theory 
that the state, equally with the church, was ordained by God, and that 
the Scriptures commanded allegiance to the state. This resulted in the 
theory that the state having decided upon its course, the members of the 
church were under obligation to follow the state and be obedient to its 
mandates. This theory provoked very warm and animated discussion 
and made it difficult to frame such findings as would be representative of 
the view of the conference. I did not favor any sort of compromise on 
such a question, holding that the Word of God was supreme on all 
teachings of morals and doctrines. 

This conference made a very great impression on all European 
churches and upon none more than the Greek Orthodox Church. The 
Roman Catholics have for very many years hoped for some arrangement 
with the Greek Church that would bring that Church to acknowledge the 
supremacy of the papacy, but the Greek bishops, archbishops, and 
patriarchs could not yield supremacy to Rome. There had been a study 

21. For a discussion of the phase of the Conference that had to do with "Drink," 
see pp. 349-352. 

WORLD-WIDE CHURCH WORK (19201927) 253 

by the Anglican Church of the orders of the Greek Church and by the 
Greek Church of the orders of the Anglican Church, and both Churches 
had become satisfied of the Apostolic Succession of the orders of both 
Churches. As the Anglican Church furnished many of the leaders of the 
Stockholm Conference, the Greek Church decided that it would also 
send its delegates. 

That, however, was not the greatest reason the Greek Church de- 
cided to send delegates to the conference. The year following the Stock- 
holm Conference, I was visiting Near East Relief orphanage work in 
Greece, and went to the island of Syra. There I was entertained by the 
Bishop of Syra, one of those tall, full-bearded, splendidly proportioned 
men with fine faces, of which the Greek Church can show not a few. 
After a ritualistic service extending for over four hours, very little of which 
I could understand and in which I was thankful I could participate sit- 
ting in a chair (most of the congregation stood for the entire four hours), 
I had a long conversation with the Greek Bishop. In most earnest, dra- 
matic fashion the Bishop said: 

How could we fail to go to Stockholm? How could we stay away? 
You American Christians have sent your men and your women, clothes, 
provisions, and multiplied millions of money to save our people, especially 
to save our orphanage children. When we received an invitation to attend 
a conference with those who had loved us enough to come to our rescue from 
the persecution of our enemies, it would have been the basest ingratitude 
to refuse such an invitation. 

It was the great work done by the American people through the Near 
East Relief which broke down the barriers between the Greek Church and 
the Protestant Churches in America. 

Two years after the Stockholm Conference, practically the same group 
of churches held a great Conference at Lausanne, Switzerland, on faith 
and order, which Conference had as its leader that remarkable, catholic, 
spiritually minded man, Bishop Charles H. Brent 22 . ... [I had met Bishop 
Brent] after the Lambeth Conference of 1920 [which had] issued an 
unusually broad and fraternal appeal to all Christian churches. This 
appeal made the non-Anglican bodies feel that the everyday facts of re- 
ligious life would become the basis of church relations, and that Christian 
fellowship would no longer be circumscribed by theories of ordination 
dependent upon tactual [sic] transmission. I was so fortunate as to travel 

22. Charles Henry Brent (i 862-1 929) was active in the Protestant Episcopal Church 
in Buffalo and Boston. In 1901 he was elected Bishop of the Philippine Islands, in 
1918 Bishop of Western New York, and from 1926 to 1928 he was Bishop in charge of 
American Protestant Episcopal Churches in Europe. 


on the same steamer with Bishop Brent as I was returning from Europe 
that year, and Bishop Brent was exceedingly sanguine that the Lambeth 
appeal would result in a healing of the breach. I insisted, however, that 
while the Lambeth appeal marked a great advance from that position 
which the noble Phillips Brooks characterized as "impotent impudence 
and impudent impotence," yet there was still a requirement that the non- 
Anglican ministers agree to accept additional ordination, while no such 
requirement was suggested for the Anglicans. 

When the Lausanne Conference met [1927], my health was still far 
from robust, but I had been advised by my physicians to take an ocean 
voyage and to stay in Switzerland to recuperate from the effects of the 
African fever. Notwithstanding my physical condition, I was selected 
to act as chairman of one of the six commissions of the Lausanne Con- 
ference, namely, the Commission on Sacraments. As chairman of the com- 
mission, I carried on the business in accordance with the rapid, parliamen- 
tary procedure of a Methodist General Conference, and kept the large com- 
mission of 130 members strictly to the business in hand. Greatly to the 
confusion of the European delegates, I recognized no preferred list of 
speakers, but gave men the floor as they arose to claim it in accordance 
with American custom. I laughingly told the commission that if the 
Americans were obliged to follow the European methods in most of the 
commissions, there was no reason why the Europeans should complain 
that they must follow the American methods in at least one commission. 

At one of the subcommittee meetings, the highly respected and be- 
loved Bishop Ireneus of Novi Sad, Serbia, said with deep emotion, when 
the formulation of a statement was being finally made, that the views of 
the Greek Church concerning the sacraments differed so greatly from 
that of the other communions represented that it seemed impossible to 
reach any agreement. And then he turned to me, as I was presiding, 
and put his hand on my shoulder and said most tenderly, "But I do love 
you, Bishop Cannon, as my brother in Christ Jesus." 

I thought that those brethren went entirely too far who insisted that 
the Conference would be a great failure if there could not be a joint 
communion celebration in which all the representatives would participate. 
The refusal to arrange for such a communion service was not unbrotherly 
in spirit. It simply indicated that honest men had sincerely differing con- 
victions which they were not prepared to surrender. The Conference did 
not heal the divisions between churches which really differed in views on 
faith and order. It did make clear the great questions on which there was 
agreement and the matter[s] on which there was dicided difference. It 
did have a great influence in the promotion of genuine brotherhood and 


of a common aim among the separated branches of the church, gathered 
together at Lausanne. I have continued to be an active member of the 
Continuation Committee of the Conference, and was appointed a repre- 
sentative of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in the second Con- 
ference held in Edinburgh in 1937. . . . 

The General Conference of 1926 

... At the General Conference of 1926, at the meeting of the College 
of Bishops, when the Committee on Assignments was appointed with 
Bishop E. D. Mouzon 23 as chairman, there was considerable discussion 
as to the assignments of bishops to the mission fields, and it was agreed 
that before the report of the committee was presented the chairman would 
confer with each of the bishops. For the first time in my itinerant ministry 
of thirty-eight years I felt obliged to make a statement concerning my 
appointment. I indicated the very precarious condition of my wife's 
health. She suffered from high blood pressure, which had steadily in- 
creased and had become more dangerous since 1920. I said that she could 
not live very long, and that any severe strain might cause a sudden col- 
lapse. I therefore requested that I be given no assignment which would 
entail prolonged separation or difficulty in prompt telegraphic communica- 
tion. I said, however, that I could carry on the work in the Congo for a 
while by correspondence. The bishops separated with a distinct under- 
standing that each one would be conferred with before the report of the 
committee was made. 

The Committee on Missions brought in a report to this General Con- 
ference requiring that bishops appointed to mission fields must live on 
the fields to which they might be assigned. The report was the next on 
the calendar. To my surprise word was passed around that there was to 
be a meeting of the College of Bishops to pass upon the report of the Com- 
mittee on Assignments. I went to the meeting wondering how it had 
happened that the chairman of the committee had not consulted me. 

When the report was read, I was assigned the supervision of Brazil 
and the Congo. I arose and called attention to the statement which I 
had made concerning my wife's critical condition, and to the further 
agreement that the chairman of the committee would consult with each 
bishop before the report was finally made. I stated that, as the bishops 
well knew, the General Conference was at that moment discussing a 
report requiring that the bishops be required to live on the mission fields 
to which they might be assigned, that it would be utterly impossible for 

23. Edwin DuBose Mouzon (1869-1937), professor of theology at Southwestern 
University, was elected bishop in 19 10. 


me to comply with such a requirement, that I could not possibly take my 
wife to the mission fields, and that I could not make the long journeys to 
Brazil and the Congo without a severe strain upon her, shortening her 
life, with the possibility of a sudden collapse. I furthermore stated that 
if the assignment was made by the vote of the bishops, and the General 
Conference adopted the requirement that the bishop must live on the 
field, I would make a statement to the General Conference of the facts 
in the case, and if the General Conference did not modify the require- 
ment in my case, I would resign rather than be guilty of such an act of 
cruelty to my wife. 

Bishop Mouzon said that I was the hardest man to find that he had 
ever looked for. I replied immediately that he could not have looked for 
me very carefully, or thoroughly, for I had been on the platform during 
every minute of the sessions of the General Conference, and that upon 
the adjournment of the General Conference I went to my room at the 
hotel, remaining there all the time except for meals, and that, as a matter 
of fact, Bishop Mouzon had failed to carry out the agreement. 

There was considerable discussion of the assignments, several of the 
bishops expressing their agreement with me. But the report was adopted 
by a majority of one vote. When the assignments were given out to the 
General Conference, the discussion on the report concerning episcopal 
residence in foreign fields took a new turn. Dr. R. H. Bennett, chair- 
man of the Virginia delegation, emphasized the impracticality of the 
report, citing as an illustration the fact that I could not live both in 
Brazil and in the Congo, that I would have to have one foot in Africa 
and one in South America, that probably the nearest middle ground 
would be the island of St. Helena, where the exiled Emperor Napoleon 

The General Conference as a body did not desire that I be required 
to live outside of the United States, and the report was recommitted. 
When it was brought back, it was still unsatisfactory to the General 
Conference and was laid on the table. I was, therefore, spared the neces- 
sity of making any statement asking that I be excepted from any require- 

In the meantime I had told Bishop Mouzon that I was amazed 
that, after what he had said in the first meeting of the College of Bishops 
concerning the assignments of bishops to foreign fields, he should have 
favored any such assignment for me, and that he should have declared 
that he could not find me to talk the matter over. I confined myself 
simply to a statement of facts without any heat, but he did not take 
kindly what I said, and became even more distant in his attitude toward 


At that same session of the General Conference, owing to the unusual- 
ly fine work which Dr. R. H. Bennett had been doing in the Depart- 
ment of Ministerial Supply and Training, both in the office and on the 
platform, there was a strong sentiment in the General Conference to 
elect him as General Secretary of the Board of Education. When Dr. 
Bennett was approached on the subject, he gave no encouragement to 
the movement, stating that he had been working under Dr. Stonewall 
Anderson, 24 and he did not want to be put in the attitude of attempting 
to undercut Dr. Anderson in any way. Nevertheless, Dr. Bennett re- 
ceived a large vote, and Dr. Anderson was much disturbed. Before 
the next meeting of the Board of Education Dr. Anderson wrote to Dr. 
Bennett, stating that he had decided to make some changes in the program 
of the work of the board, and that in the new setup there would be no 
place for Dr. Bennett. . . . 

When the meeting of the board was held at the Publishing House in 
Nashville in June, 1926, and Dr. Anderson presented his nominations, 
I inquired why Dr. Bennett was not renominated as secretary of the 
Department of Ministerial Supply and Training. Dr. Anderson replied 
that he had decided to reorganize the work of the board and to make 
some adjustments in the personnel and that Dr. Bennett did not fit into 
the setup which he had planned. He also emphasized that in order to 
carry on the work of the board smoothly, the General Secretary should 
be given a free hand in the choice of his assistants. 

I replied, discussing the matter very fully, emphasizing the qualifica- 
tions Dr. Bennett had by educational training, work as a pastor of lead- 
ing churches, as professor at Randolph-Macon College, and as secretary 
of the department for over ten years, developing the work to a high de- 
gree of efficiency. I also emphasized his great acceptability as a repre- 
sentative of the board at Annual Conferences and at various kinds of 
religious gatherings, stating what I knew to be the fact that, when- 
ever it was noised around in the basement that Dr. Bennett was speaking, 
men went up into the auditorium, whereas on many occasions I had seen 
them leave the auditorium and go to the basement when some other repre- 
sentatives of the board rose to speak. This may not have been tactful, 
but it was true, and my sense of justice and fair play had been greatly 
stirred. I insisted that the secretary of the board could work smoothly 
and agreeably with Dr. Bennett, as there was nothing angular or comba- 
tive in Dr. Bennett's disposition. 

Bishop Mouzon, who had been elected chairman of the board, was 

24. Stonewall Anderson (1864-1928), an Arkansas minister, was Secretary of the 
Board of Education, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, from 19 10 until his death. 


greatly disturbed by my insistence upon the right and the duty of the 
board to override Dr. Anderson's action and to re-elect Dr. Bennett to 
his old position. I knew that he and Dr. Anderson had talked the mat- 
ter over, and that he approved Dr. Anderson's action, but I was not 
prepared for the feeling which he displayed. He left the chair, walked 
up and down the platform, wringing his hands, and declared that Bishop 
Cannon had precipitated a very unfortunate discussion, and had placed 
all the members of the board in a very embarrassing position, and his 
whole attitude was that I was to be censured for making a plain state- 
ment of my convictions. I replied that I was clearly within my rights, that 
the issue involved was to me one of justice and fair play to an efficient 
and trusted assistant secretary of the board, that I knew my motion would 
not prevail, but that I was going to insist upon a recorded vote. This 
having been taken, my motion, as I had foreseen, was defeated, and Dr. 
Bennett, one of the most efficient secretaries the Board of Education has 
ever had, was not re-elected because he had not been nominated by the 
General Secretary. 

After adjournment of the board, Bishop Mouzon said to me that 
if I was not in sympathy with the program of the board and its General 
Secretary I should certainly not try to block it, and if not satisfied that 
I should resign. I told him that I had been a member of the board for 
sixteen years, that I had done a great deal of hard work as a member of 
the board, indeed I must say quite frankly much more than he had done, 
that I had had more experience in secondary school work than any other 
member of the board, that I had been elected by the board to be the 
chairman of the Educational Campaign Commission in 1920, which com- 
mission had secured [several] million dollars, and that with the record 
which I had made in the work of education, I saw no more reason for 
me to resign than for him to resign. 

I then stated that I understood that some criticism had been made 
against Dr. Bennett because he did not approve of certain books which 
were being used in some of the pastors' schools, that he thought that 
they were too modernistic in their teachings, and that I myself, while I 
had never been inclined to stir up contention and strife in our Church on 
doctrinal matters, was not at all satisfied with the modernistic trend which 
was being given to the work of the Board of Education by himself and 
by Dr. Anderson. 

He replied that he did not believe in "dry-rot" in theological thought, 
and he was glad to say that he was progressive in his thinking. 

I replied that I tried to be progressive in methods, and I welcomed 
most heartily any light which would make more clear the fundamental 


teachings of Jesus, but that I abhorred the blatant modernism of the 
present time, which was whittling away at the foundations of faith and 
actually seemed to glory in it. 

He then made the intensely personal statement that I should read 
more new books, that one of the leaders of the Church had said to him 
recently that he did not suppose I had read a new book on theology in 
the past ten years, and reiterated the statement that he held very positive- 
ly to the view that if I was not in harmony with the leadership and policies 
of the Board of Education, I should not continue as a member of the 
board. I replied that possibly both he and I should give heed to St. 
Paul's admonition that we should not think more highly of our educa- 
tional qualifications than we ought to think, but that certainly I did not 
propose to resign from a board in whose work I had been intensely 
interested for very many years because I did not agree with some policies 
and actions of the chairman and the General Secretary. To this he made 
no reply. 

This incident in the Board of Education, and the conversation fol- 
lowing, did not make for closer relations between Bishop Mouzon and 
myself, and I was not at all surprised that in 1930, when I was intensely 
occupied with other matters, I was, without any consultation whatever, 
dropped from membership on the Board of Education. 

The Congo ( 1927-1934) 

From 1922 to 1927 I carried on a continued correspondence with the 
workers in the Congo, and from my personal knowledge of the conditions 
in the field was able to pass judgment on most matters requiring ad- 
ministration from the home base. 

In 1927, however, it became evident that another visit to the field should 
be made. My wife's physical condition was not at all satisfactory, but 
once again we agreed that I ought to make the trip. Leaving home the 
latter part of February, I sailed first to England, 25 then across Europe 
to an inspection of Near East Relief Work in Greece, Syria, Palestine, and 
Egypt, and then took a French steamer at Port Said for Mombasa in 

The steamer carried no first-class, and the second-class cabins were 
quite cramped, the companionship uncongenial, and I anticipated an 
uncomfortable, hot passage through the Red Sea. Fortunately, however, 
the winds and temperature were quite favorable, and the only very dis- 
agreeable day was the day spent at Djibouti, in French Somaliland. I 
could see no reason why any European should take up life in any country 

25. See pp. 367 ff. 



bordering on the Red Sea unless he be a missionary, giving his life to 
sacrificial service for the natives. 

The days and nights spent on the island of Zanzibar were really a 
worth-while experience. The inhabitants of the island were largely 
Mohammedan Arabs, but they most willingly, indeed apparently gladly, 
acknowledged King George as their sovereign king, with a British 
governor-general, but with a Mohammedan prince as the factotum ruler 
of the island. The Church of England Was doing a fine missionary work, 
and many of the Moslems attended the Christian service. It was cur- 
rently reported that the prince had in fact embraced monogamy and was 
living with only one wife, although three other wives lived in the palace. 
I was greatly impressed at Zanzibar, as I was in all the countries of East 
and South Africa under British control, with the wisdom of the British 
policy in regard to native races. 

At Mombasa I had time to run up to the capital of the colony and see 
there the great work of the Church of England among the natives. The 
English Bible and the English prayer book had both been translated 
in full into Swahili by the British and Foreign Bible Society, and were sold 
at a low price or, if necessary, given away. The English colony, both 
in Uganda and in Kenya, was large and of a very high type, and already 
had a most substantial growth. 

The next lap of the journey was from Mombasa to Dar-es-Salaam, 
the port of what was formerly German East Africa, but was now known 
as the Tanganyika Territory. It formed a very necessary link in the 
uninterrupted stretch of territory under British control from the Cape to 

A train run of two days and one night was required from Dar-es- 
Salaam to Kigoma, a port on Lake Tanganyika from which the steamer 
ran to Albertville in the Belgian Congo. It was at Ujiji, near this place, 
that Henry M. Stanley found Dr. Livingstone and vainly tried to per- 
suade him to return with him to Europe. There was only one thing 
which impressed itself on my memory in the tedious run across the 
length of Tanganyika. The territory is infested with the tsetse fly, the 
bite of which frequently produces sleeping sickness. I had a compart- 
ment alone and carefully kept the window down and the door shut as 
closely as possible, but despite all my precautions I was bitten twice, and 
was left to wonder for several days whether the flies which bit me were 

The trip was made with comparative ease across the lake, then 
through the Congo, by rail and steamer to Kibombo, but when I reached 
there I was faced with a difficult problem. My cable had evidently been 


delayed, for no missionaries were there to meet me with the hammock 
men and the carriers. I had learned on my first trip to travel very lightly, 
and I got off the train at Kibombo with little baggage. I found myself in 
a very difficult situation. I was able to speak only very broken French 
and had to make myself understood by the sign language. I was positively 
assured by the Belgian officials at the station that I could not get to Tunda 
until I had sent a runner to bring back men enough to carry me through, 
which procedure meant a loss of a full week. 

I had my baggage carried over to the store near by and there was 
greeted most cordially by the Belgian trader whom I had met five years 
before a few miles from Kibombo. 26 I emphasized to him the great 
need of haste, and within less than three hours the caravan was all made 
up with hammock men and bearers, ample supplies for the trip of four 
days having been bought at the Belgian store. The Belgian took a 
number of his own trusty men, putting one of them at the head of the 
caravan, and told them all, every one of whom he knew, that he would 
hold them personally responsible for my comfort and safety. So I went 
off on the path with no knowledge of the native language, and with no 
one of the natives having any knowledge of English. The sign language 
was used throughout, but the head natives were bright, and there was 
no difficulty. The trip was made in record time because I had promised 
all of the natives a liberal matebish (tip) for quick service. 

On the first night out, immediately after supper, I sat on the porch of 
the "resthouse," took out my hymnbook, sang a hymn, read a passage 
of Scripture, ofTered prayer, and then sang another hymn. The natives 
all squatted around in semicircle, their eyes shining in the firelight. 
They listened quietly to the reading, but did not know what to do during 
the prayer. After the singing of the first hymn, they awkwardly tried to 
join in on the second hymn, earnestly trying to keep some semblance of 
the tune. The whole native village was lined up as a background. The 
men looked forward to this service every night, and there was never any 
noise or lack of reverence. . . . 

I found that at all the mission stations there had been a great advance- 
ment in the work. I sent out a runner ahead to announce my coming to 
the Mission. When Chief Tunda heard of it, he beat his drum, called 
together his people, and had a great number of them to meet me several 
miles from his village. A fresh set of hammock carriers were sent and 
insisted on taking the Owangi the rest of the way. I was greatly pleased 
that the hammock bearers I had had from Kibombo resisted the change 

26. See p. 224. 



until I told them that they could take the hammock again when they 
came within a half a mile of the village. They greatly enjoyed going 
through the village with singing and shouting. . . . 

Owing to my wife's serious condition I had arranged my plans to 
make my trip to the Congo and return in the quickest possible time. 
The Governor-General at Leopoldville had radioed the administrators 
through whose territory I would pass to facilitate my progress. After a 
very thorough consideration of the work of the Mission and the formula- 
tion of plans for the future, I started in a Ford truck from Wembo 
Nyama to Lusambo with several of the missionaries, driving by the light 
of the moon to make Lusambo that night. When we reached the last 
river, we found that the workmen of Ona Kasongo had laid the poles 
lengthwise but had not put on the cross-layer, so that the truck could 
not possibly cross the steam. 

When we discovered this fact at about 11 p.m., a terrific hurricane 
swept over the country, driving us for protection to a small native hut 
near the river. The native was very hospitable, took his wife and daugh- 
ters and grandchildren out to some little outhouses, and gave the mis- 
sionaries the use of his hut. We were so tired that we went off to sleep al- 
most immediately, lying on the blankets which we had spread on the 
floor. In less than an hour a large rat fell from one of the mats in the 
upper part of the hut, striking me on the head and waking me up. I 
found myself to be literally covered with fleas and lice, and suffering 
from mosquito bites inflicted in my sleep. As the rain had diminished, I 
went outside the hut and put a steamer chair under the eaves and sat 
there until morning. The next day a hot bath and fumigation and clean- 
ing of my clothes repaired the external damage. 

All connections were made, with stops as on the former trip at 
Elizabethville, Bulawayo, and Capetown, where four public functions 
were attended between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. I boarded the steamer ex- 
pecting to have another delightful voyage after the past strenuous sixty 
days. But at 11 p.m., two weeks to the hour from the time I went to 
sleep in the native hut, I was attacked by a very severe form of African 
fever, my temperature running at once to 104 , and continuing with 
slight fluctuation very high for two full weeks. I informed Dr. Blackstone, 
the ship's doctor, just what had happened to me two weeks before. 

For the first ten days my condition was increasingly critical, and the 
doctor radioed to the Board of Missions that I was in a serious condition. 
This message, unfortunately, was given to the daily press, and the first 
knowledge that my wife had of my condition was gained from a head- 
line in the newspaper. A return message came from the Board of Mis- 


sions. When the doctor brought this to me, I learned for the first time 
that a message had been sent. It was early in the morning, when my 
fever was lower than in the afternoon, and I immediately radioed my 
wife that my temperature was lower and I was improving. 

Fortunately I did improve until, when I reached Madeira, I was 
entirely out of any immediate danger. When the fever left me suddenly 
one night at 11 p.m., just two weeks from the time of the attack, my 
steward, who had become very much attached to me, fearing that the 
doctor would not reach me when the sinking spell came, rushed down 
to his chest and brought up a botde of French brandy which he had 
kept ever since the war. The doctor appeared at about the same time and 
said that he never used alcohol under such conditions, but gave strychnine 
and other kinds of stimulants. The steward was much disappointed and 
insisted that the brandy was the best treatment. The doctor laughed and 
said, "I do not use it, and if you knew who this patient is, you would 
not expect him to use it." The steward, somewhat puzzled, said, "You 
don't mean he is one of those prohibition fanatics, do you?" And the 
doctor replied, " From what I hear, he is one of the worst." 

Upon reaching London I was given a thorough examination at the 
Royal Hospital for Tropical Diseases. The doctors reported that they 
could not give a final report without an incision to determine whether 
there was an ulcerated condition of the stomach. This operation I de- 
clined to have performed, stating that if I could reach the United States, 
I would prefer to have it performed in Richmond, where, if it was fatal, 
I could be buried in Hollywood Cemetery instead of in England or in 
the ocean. No operation was performed at that time or since, but I 
date from that fever the attacks of varying severity which I have had 
from time to time. . . . 

Notwithstanding this experience, in 1929 when conditions arose in 
the Congo which called for episcopal action, at the request of both 
foreign secretaries, I agreed to make a trip to straighten out the difficulties 
which had arisen. I went to the Congo and returned on crutches. I was 
in the ship's hospital part of the way going and all of the way coming 

I especially enjoyed the trip going out because of the opportunity to 
talk with General Jan Smuts. He was returning to South Africa from 
a trip to England and America. I had met him in New York, where 
I was one of the committee that had given a dinner in his honor. I had 
met General Smuts on my former trip to Africa and admired his ecu- 
menical attitude and his policies in South Africa as opposed to those of 
the Boer General Herzog, who, by combination with the Labor party, 


had become Prime Minister and controlled the South African Parliament. 
These talks on shipboard increased my interest in South African affairs, 
and were especially enlightening in reference to Cecil Rhodes. 

The trip through South Africa, then up through the Katanga country 
of the Belgian Congo, and by truck to the mission meeting was a tre- 
mendous strain upon my nervous and physical powers generally. I could 
not have made the trip without a collapse, had it not been for the special 
courtesies extended to me by Major Heenan, the Governor-General of 
the Katanga, whose acquaintance I had made on the long steamer trip 
from Antwerp to Matadi in 1922. Major Heenan was a Belgian of the 
highest type, and while a Roman Catholic by profession, yet he had 
been strongly impressed by the splendid work done by American 
Protestants in feeding and saving starving Belgians during the war. 

When I reached Elizabethville, I found that all of my plans had gone 
awry. No reservations had been made on the train, swollen streams had 
washed out certain sections of the track which, while repaired, were not 
yet open to general train service. It seemed that in my bad physical 
condition I would be unable to make the trip. Appeals to the director 
of railroads secured no help. Just when I had decided that I must return 
home without visiting the Mission or remain indefinitely at Elizabethville 
(in which event I would not be present at the General Conference of 
1930, which I knew I must attend), I saw in the English section of the 
Elizabethville paper that Major Heenan, the Governor-General, had re- 
turned to Elizabethville the night before. 

I drove immediately to the Governor-General's mansion, and told 
the secretary that I would like to see the Governor-General at once, if 
possible. The secretary was not especially impressed with my insistence, 
and told me that it would be impossible to see the Governor-General 
that day, that he was in a conference with the administrators of the 
Katanga District. I wrote on my card a brief note to the Governor- 
General, stating that my business was urgent, and asking for a few 
minutes as soon as possible. The secretary shrugged his shoulders in 
Belgian fashion, but took the card. He returned almost immediately, 
a transformed man. He invited me into the inner office, gave me a most 
comfortable armchair, and told me the Governor-General would see me 
in ten minutes. 

I asked the co-operation of the Governor-General in carrying out my 
plans, explaining my needs briefly but fully, and emphasizing the need 
for as much comfort as possible consistent with speed. Immediately 
and with real pleasure, he gave me letters to the railroad, airplane, 
and all other Belgian officials, directing them to put at my disposal 


the best possible equipment and to give me the best possible service. With 
only two hours before the train was to leave, I found the station master, 
who suddenly discovered that he could attach a private carriage to the 
train, which would accommodate not only me but two missionaries and 
their wives who were in Elizabethville on their way to the mission station. 
In that special carriage I traveled as far as it was possible to go, and then 
went about two hundred miles in the truck to the mission station, most of 
the time in a driving rain. 

I held the conference lying on a cot with both feet and ankles swathed 
in ichthyol bandages, but I had a most helpful and inspiring meeting 
of the Mission. After a few days in which I received most skilful at- 
tention from the mission nurses and doctors, without which I could 
hardly have continued to travel, I returned, using the Belgian airship 
from [Aduluaburg] to Elizabethville. I was barely able to accept any of 
the courtesies extended to me by my Cape Town friends. Though I was 
in much pain, I did make two addresses. As soon as I got on the steamer, 
I went to the ship's hospital, where I was most carefully tended by the 
steward in charge, a member of the Wesleyan Church in England, and, 
by strange coincidence, by the same Doctor Blackstone who had attended 
me when I had the African fever three years before. 

I continued in charge of the Congo Mission from 1930 to 1934, carry- 
ing on a most active correspondence and assisting in deciding questions 
which arose on the field which were referred back to the home office. I 
have never regretted that I accepted the assignment, and notwithstanding 
the physical disabilities which appear to have had their origin in the 
fever of 1927, I have always been glad that I could be associated with 
the development of the work of the Church among the black men of 

Brazil (1926-1930) 

I greatly enjoyed my association with the workers in Brazil, both 
Brazilian and missionary. On my first visit [summer and fall of 1926] 
I was accompanied by my son Edward. We went via Lisbon, and on the 
steamer met some of the Portuguese workers. I made an exhaustive in- 
quiry into every phase of the work and became personally acquainted 
with every missionary and Brazilian worker. I inspected with special 
care the school and church property. After holding the three Conferences, 
I went to Buenos Aires expecting to return to Brazil, but a cable an- 
nouncing sickness at home compelled me to take the shortest route, 
which was across the Andes, by Chile, Peru, the Panama Canal, and 
Cuba. . . , 27 

27. See p. 364 n. 1. j 



My second trip to Brazil (in 1927) was made against the advice of 
my physicians. I had reached the United States the latter part of June, 
much weakened by the African fever experience, but had been gready 
improved by the sea voyage to Europe and return and four weeks' stay 
in Switzerland at the Lausanne Conference. Nevertheless, the doctors 
feared the results of going so soon into equatorial temperatures. But 
there were certain matters of administration in Brazil which I felt re- 
quired my official presence. 

When I announced my decision to go, my wife declared that if I 
went, she was going also. She told me she did not think she could sur- 
vive another absence of the duration of such a trip, and that if she were 
going to die, she preferred to die where I was rather than five thousand 
miles away. So we both went to Brazil in September, 1927, and both of 
us were very seriously affected by the severe heat in crossing the equator. 
I greatly doubted whether my wife would survive; she on her part felt 
the same way about me, but we did not tell each other our thoughts. 

The trip from Sao Paulo to Porto Alegre was a hard one of four days 
— on trains it is true, but with no sleepers part of the way, and very 
primitive ones where there were any. Several leaders of the South 
Brazil Conference who were at the Central Brazil Conference at Sao 
Paulo came to me in a body and protested against my making the trip 
to southern Brazil in my evidently enfeebled condition. For the first 
time in my life, owing largely to my wife's condition, I agreed not to go, 
and sailed for home on the earliest steamer. The experience in crossing 
the equator again was worse, if anything, than on the trip coming out, 
and we were both weak and on the verge of collapse when we reached 

Shortly afterward I attended the meeting of the College of Bishops 
at Jackson, Mississippi, where at the same time the General Missionary 
Council was held. I had been requested to make one of the principal 
night addresses, but had been unable to concentrate or do any work 
since my return. When I reached Jackson, I sent the General Missionary 
Secretary word that I did not think it would be possible for me to make 
any address that night. But after getting two or three hours' sleep I went 
to work, and in the afternoon wrote an address on "The Gospel." This 
was a simple statement of what I understood to be the Christian Gospel, 
which I had been called upon to preach. Gathering together all my 
reserve strength, I read it to the great gathering that night. Much to my 
surprise the council voted to have the address printed in pamphlet form. 
As I almost tottered out of the church to a cab, I heard Bishop McMurry 
say to a friend, "That man is marked by death. He will not live sixty 


But I determined not to die. I did not believe my work was ended. 
The next year, owing to the death of my wife in November, 1928, the 
College of Bishops urged me not to attempt to go to Brazil. Perhaps 
they realized the mistake made in 1926. I did not go until 1929, when, 
in much improved health, I held the three Brazil Conferences, going to the 
Southern Conference by way of Montevideo, with which city I was much 
pleased. Indeed the trip through Uruguay was quite a surprise. The 
country and the people reminded me of western Texas, and they seemed 
less like Spaniards than any South American people I had visited. 

. . . My time at the General Conference of 1930 was largely taken up 
in defending myself from the attack made upon me by a group of 
Methodist laymen, all of whom, as closely as I could check the matter 
up, had opposed the Anti-Smith Democratic movement. ... At that 
General Conference I was given supervision again of Brazil and Africa. 
Bishop Mouzon was appointed as chairman of a commission of five 
to go to Brazil and to join with the Brazilian Church in establishing an 
autonomous Brazilian Methodist Church. While I was making my 
preparation for the holding of the three Brazilian Conferences, Bishop 
Mouzon wired me that it would not be necessary for me to go to Brazil, 
that he could preside at the Conferences and attend to the work of the 
commission. I replied that I had been assigned by the College of Bishops 
to preside over the sessions of the Brazilian Conferences, that I considered 
the matter to be of too great importance to be committed to anyone else, 
and that I should be present to preside at the dates fixed for the holding 
of the Conferences. 

When the Brazil Conference met in its first night session at Petropolis, 
I carried on the business of the organization of the Conference, introduced 
the members of the commission, and stated that full opportunity would 
be given to the commission to present the important matter with which 
it was charged at a later session, and that the Conference could then take 
such action as might be necessary to put into effect the plan of the 
General Conference. 

I do not know what Bishop Mouzon had expected me to do. I simply 
followed what seemed to me to be normal procedure. But upon the 
return of the commission to the hotel where we were stopping, as I 
was going up the stairs to my room, Bishop Mouzon called me and 
said, "Bishop Cannon, it is necessary for the commission to go into ex- 
ecutive session and have a conference with you." 

We went into executive session and then quite abruptly he said, 
"Bishop Cannon, if you do not intend to co-operate with the commission, 
we might as well take the next steamer and go home." 



I was greatly surprised and could not understand the cause for such 
a statement, but I replied quietly, "Bishop Mouzon, of course it is my 
purpose to endeavor to carry out the will of the General Conference as 
expressed in the report which it adopted, and in the instructions which 
it gave to this commission but I do not interpret the action of the General 
Conference to mean that the bishop presiding over the Brazil Annual 
Conferences is to turn over the conduct of those Conferences to the 
commission, but [I believe] that it is his duty to see that the regular work 
of the Annual Conferences is carried out, and that proper action is taken 
for the selection of the members of the commission from the Brazil 
Conferences, and for the proper authorization by the Annual Conferences 
for the setting up of the new General Conference, and for the election 
of delegates to the General Conference after it is set up. It is my intention 
to give ample time to the commission for its work in presenting the 
plan to the Annual Conferences, but the Annual Conferences must them- 
selves complete their regular business and take the actions necessary for 
the constitution of the joint commission and the General Conference 

Bishop Mouzon apparently seemed to think that the commission could 
take general charge of the work of the Annual Conferences, whereas I 
thought its work was limited and clearly defined. And, as a matter of 
fact, after that meeting on the first evening, the work was carried on in 
accordance with the methods which I had outlined. 

After the three Conferences had selected the Brazilian members of 
the commission — five from each Conference — and had elected their del- 
egates to the General Conference, later to be provided, the commission 
of twenty met at our church in the city of Sao Paulo. I did not attend 
the first meeting of the commission, but was told accurately by several 
members of the commission what occurred. 

Bishop Mouzon made a statement, and at the close of it said that all 
the sessions of the commission should be executive. Several of the Brazil- 
ian members objected, and asked specifically whether he meant that no 
one but members of the commission could attend its meetings. Did he 
mean to exclude the bishop presiding over the Brazilian Conferences ? 

He replied that he did. To this the Brazilians objected, stating that they 
desired the presiding bishop to be present to know the business before 
the commission, as they might desire to consult with him concerning 
some matters. Furthermore, they said that they desired that the other 
members of the Annual Conferences, clerical and lay, and members in- 
terested in the work of the commission, including all the missionaries, 


should be present. So by an overwhelming vote the request for executive 
sessions was denied. 

I attended most of the sessions of the commission, as did most of the 
missionaries and leading members of the three Conferences. As was 
natural, there were some points of friction concerning which the Brazil- 
ian brethren consulted with me freely, and I gave them my views without 
hesitation, but I took no part in the discussion. 

When the work of the commission had been completed, Bishop 
Mouzon made a statement concerning the procedure in the General 
Conference, which was to convene on the day following the ratification 
of the plan. He said that as chairman of the joint commission he would 
preside at the General Conference until the Conference had elected its 
own bishop. 

The Brazilian delegates stated that they would like for their own 
bishop (myself) to preside alternately with Bishop Mouzon. He was 
much offended at this proposal, and impetuously declared, "I am a gentle- 
man, my father was a gentleman, my grandfather was a gentleman, and 
all my forefathers. I would certainly be sufficiently courteous to invite 
Bishop Cannon to preside from time to time over the General Con- 

This did not satisfy the Brazilian members of the commission, and one 
of them replied, "I am a gentleman, and was a gentleman before I ever 
joined the Methodist Church, my father was a gentleman and my grand- 
father was a gentleman. The method proposed by Bishop Mouzon is not 
satisfactory. We do not think that our bishop should preside as a matter 
of courtesy, but that he should preside alternately with the chairman of 
the commission." Bishop Mouzon adjourned the commission and left the 

The next day (Sunday) the American members of the commission 
and some others dined at the home of Dr. W. B. Lee, one of the veteran 
Brazilian missionaries. It was a very pleasant brotherly occasion. After 
dinner Miss Esther Case, Judge W. Erskine Williams, my wife, and I 
drove from Dr. Lee's residence (about six miles) back to the hotel where 
we were stopping. 

Judge Williams asked me what I thought of the discussion the day 
before concerning the presidency of the General Conference. I stated 
that I had been taken by surprise by the discussion, that my opinion had 
not been asked by anyone until then, that the matter seemed to me to be 
a very simple one, presenting no difficulties whatever. 

I emphasized that neither Bishop Mouzon nor I had any official rela- 
tion to the Brazilian General Conference; that it was entirely proper for 


the commission to state who should call the Brazilian General Conference 
to order, but that having been called to order it was the business of the 
Conference to elect its own president and secretary from among its own 
members, the president so elected to preside until the election of the 
bishop for Brazil; that, of course, the president of the Conference could, 
if he so desired, as a matter of courtesy, request the chairman of the 
commission or the bishop previously in charge to sit with him on the 
platform, and to preside occasionally, but that in my judgment the 
whole matter was entirely in the hands of the General Conference when 
it convened. 

Judge Williams immediately agreed with me, and said he did not 
know why the commission had not proposed that procedure. He said that 
he would talk with Bishop Mouzon when he reached the hotel. When 
he reached the hotel he found Brother Dickie, one of our veteran Brazil- 
ian missionaries, waiting there to talk the matter over with Bishop 
Mouzon to present the views of the Brazilian brethren. He and Judge 
Williams agreed that the procedure I had suggested was the only proper 

They saw Bishop Mouzon and stated to him their opinion. Bishop 
Mouzon replied, as they told me, that it was evident it was a waste of 
time for the commission to remain in Brazil any longer, and although 
sailing had been engaged for ten days later, he canceled those sailings 
and engaged passage for the first boat sailing — the following Wednesday 
— and on Monday night, immediately after the proclamation of the con- 
stitution of the autonomous Brazilian Church, Bishop Mouzon left for 
Rio de Janeiro and sailed for the United States on Wednesday. 

When the Brazilian General Conference was convened, Dr. H. C. 
Tucker was elected president of the Conference and presided throughout 
the entire session, for the Conference elected Dr. J. W. Barbeaux as its 
first bishop, and as he was in the United States, he could not be present. 
Dr. Tucker invited me to sit with him on the platform, to preside from 
time to time, and to consult very frequently on various matters. 

At the invitations of the Brazilian brethren, I had agreed to attend 
the sessions of all the Annual Conferences after the General Conference, 
but I was called home to consider the charges which had been brought 
against me by three ministers. These charges were finally disposed of in 
February, 1931, the committee of investigation finding that the charges 
did not warrant a trial. [But] the investigations by the Nye Committee 
followed during the year 1931. . . . 


Differences with Bishop Mouzon (1931-1934) 

At the meeting of the Commission on Temperance and Social Service 
in [1931], owing to the failure of President Hoover to carry out his 
pledge that he would vigorously and effectively enforce the Eighteenth 
Amendment, it was increasingly evident that a crisis was approaching 
in reference to the Eighteenth Amendment. The commission requested 
that either Dr. E. L. Crawford, 28 the General Secretary, or I, try to 
arrange to attend the session of every Annual Conference to emphasize 
the necessity for increasing vigilance and activity on the part of our 
ministry and membership. 

In planning our work, it was arranged that Dr. Crawford should 
attend the meeting of the Baltimore Conference, but shortly before the 
meeting of the Conference Dr. Crawford found that he could not go. 
[On September 29, 1931,] I . . . therefore wired Bishop Mouzon, who 
was presiding over the Conference at Roanoke, stating that Dr. Craw- 
ford could not attend and that it would be necessary, therefore, for me to 
take his place, and I asked to know what time would be most convenient 
for me to represent the work of our board. To this telegram Bishop 
Mouzon replied: 

[It is not possible to give either you or Dr. E. L. Crawford a place on the 
program of the Baltimore Conference. The Board of Temperance and Social 
Service will be properly represented by myself and members of the Con- 
ference. This position is taken in the interest of the Church and of the cause 
the Board was organized to serve.] 

I replied promptly: 

[In accordance with instructions of General Board of Temperance and 
Social Service I shall come to Roanoke as Chairman of General Board and 
shall as is customary present interest committed to hands of our board by 
General Conference to the Baltimore Annual Conference Board. It rests with 
that board and not with Bishop to determine whether it will make exception 
in treatment accorded to General Board of Temperance to that accorded to 
the representatives of other boards. The bishop in charge of an Annual Con- 
ference has no authority beyond that laid down in the discipline, certainly no 
authority to arrogate to himself to determine that he will properly represent 
policies and needs of board of which he is not a member nor ever been 
requested to represent said board. I shall never agree that any other man 
shall determine for me how I shall meet the responsibilities laid upon me by 
the Church. See paragraph discipline five twenty-one outlining board's work.] 

I went at once to Roanoke, and upon my arrival went to the confer- 

28. The Commission on Temperance and Social Service, according to the Southern 
Methodist Yearboo\, was changed between 1926 and 1927 to the the Board of Temperance 
and Social Service. Crawford became General Secretary in 1928. 


ence room; and, although Bishop Mouzon saw me and introduced several 
other persons, he did not recognize me, invite me to the platform, or 
introduce me. I gave the matter no special attention at the time, but 
sought for the chairman of the Baltimore Conference Committee on 
Temperance and Social Service. I could not find him, but I was told by 
some members of the committee that the report had already been 
agreed upon, and that there was to be no further meeting of the com- 

I waited until the evening session, when I sought out the chairman of 
the committee and asked him if he would not call the committee to 
meet at the close of the evening service. He was courteous, but said that 
the committee had agreed upon its report. I stated that I was there re- 
presenting the General Conference Board and that I desired to present 
some matters to the Annual Conference Board, as had always been 
customary. He agreed to call a meeting of the board the next afternoon. 

The next morning, during the conference proceedings, Bishop Mouzon 
recognized my presence on the conference floor and introduced me to 
the Conference, but did not invite me to the platform, which was the 
occasion of much comment all over the Conference. At the close of the 
session I went as promptly as possible (for I was using two crutches) to 
the committee room on the upper floor of the annex, and just as I reached 
the door, the members came out, stating that the committee had met 
and that as it had no business, it had adjourned. 

I insisted that all the members of the committee who could be gathered 
be called back that I might make a statement which was being made to 
all the other Conference boards. I finally secured the attendance of a 
majority of the committee, made my statement, and insisted upon a 
resolution in the report of the board concerning the matter I had dis- 

The board recognized its importance, and adopted a very satisfactory 
resolution. When the report was read to the Conference, I arose from 
where I was sitting on the conference floor, and spoke to the report, and 
was warmly applauded by the Conference, as the local daily papers in- 

Later on I arose and stated that I desired to take leave of the Con- 
ference and [at the same time questioned Bishop Mouzon's action in not 
inviting me as a Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to the 

Bishop Mouzon made no reply, but simply asked, "Are there any 
further announcements?" And the Conference adjourned. 29 

29. For details of this interchange, see the Roanoke Times, Oct. 1, 193 1. 


My statement, which was in writing, was sent to him at his request. 
A misleading and somewhat garbled statement was sent out by the 
Associated Press, and was printed in the first edition of the Roanoke 
World News. I saw that edition and promptly called the editor in per- 
son, and read to him the statement which I had made and asked him 
to print that statement and not the misleading statement which had 
appeared in the first edition, and this was done. 

The Associated Press report was seized upon by critical and hostile 
secular papers, which stated that I had been repudiated and humiliated 
by Bishop Mouzon because of his disagreement with the settlement of 
the charges against me, both by the General Conference and by the 
special committee of investigation. 30 For example, the Raleigh News 
and Observer, the editor of which, Mr. Josephus Daniels, had been one 
of the leaders in pressing the charges against me before the Committee 
on Episcopacy at the Dallas General Conference in 1930 and in opposing 
my re-election as chairman of the Board of Temperance and Social 
Service, wrote an editorial of a column in length, entitled, "Are There 
any Further Announcements?," which editorial praised Bishop Mouzon 
for his action and sharply condemned me. 

At the meeting of the Virginia Conference at Lynchburg in October, 
1 931, Bishop Mouzon presided. I had been requested, as had been the 
custom for very many years, to make an address following the report of 
the annual Commission on Temperance and Social Service. I accepted 
the invitation and attended the conference, stopping at the Virginian 
Hotel, where Bishop Mouzon also stopped. 

On the night before the consideration of the report the Reverend F. R. 
Chenault, the chairman of the committee, and Brother J. Peters, one of my 
closest friends, came to my room and stated that they had just come from 
Bishop Mouzon's room and that he had stated that he would not speak 
on the program if I spoke, and wanted to know what was to be done. 

I replied that I could not be responsible for Bishop Mouzon's actions, 
that I would be present and would speak, and that if he did not desire to 
speak, that was a matter for him to settle. 

The next morning I took my seat in the conference room at the corner 
of one of the front benches, where I had formerly sat for many years. 
Bishop Mouzon did not recognize my presence in any way, although 
he saw that I was present. Dr. Chenault read the report on temperance 
and social service, and then stated that I would be the first speaker. 

I arose and walked to the altar rail, and started my speech as usual, 

30. For the background of this controversy, see p. xxi. 


"Mr. Chairman and Brethren." Bishop Mouzon was seated in a revolving 
arm chair. As I came forward, without recognizing me in any way, he 
deliberately turned his chair to face the side wall of the church, and 
remained in that position during my entire speech. 

I did not allow his conduct to affect in any way the manner or the 
matter of my speech. The Lynchburg News, a hostile newspaper owned 
by Senator Carter Glass, stated that at the conclusion of my speech I 
"received a great ovation." As I returned to my seat, Bishop Mouzon 
turned his chair to face the Conference once more, and then Dr. Chenault 
said that the next speaker would be Dr. Clarence True Wilson, General 
Secretary of the Board of Temperance, Prohibition, and Public Morals of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop Mouzon arose, stepped out of 
his chair, walking toward the left steps to the platform, and said, "Come 
up to the platform, Dr. Wilson. Brethren, I take great pleasure in in- 
troducing to you the distinguished secretary of a great board of our sister 

These two occurrences, at Roanoke and Lynchburg, were given wide- 
spread notice, and greatly encouraged my enemies of the "Rum, Roman- 
ism, and Bourbonism" persuasion. 

A few days later the Ecumenical Conference of Methodism met in 
Atlanta. My friends in Atlanta, stirred by the reports of what had 
happened, invited me to address a great mass meeting at the city audito- 
rium on the night before the opening of the Ecumenical Conference, and 
I was invited by one of the leading hotels to be its guest during the 
session of the conference. 

At the opening session of the conference [on the night of October 16, 
1931], when I arrived at Wesley Memorial Church, where the conference 
was being held, the newsboys were crying all around the entrances to 
the church, "Bishop Cannon indicted." I was not at all surprised, in 
deed I had predicted in my address at the auditorium the night before 
that the Roman Catholic district attorney, with his Roman Catholic 
majority in the grand jury of the District of Columbia, encouraged by 
the idea that Bishop Mouzon's actions at Roanoke and Lynchburg were 
representative of a widespread sentiment in my own Church, would 
find an indictment. 

I went into one of the committee rooms where some of the delegates 
were gathering, and there found Gypsy Smith, with whom I had had 
very pleasant associations. We talked together until time to go to the 
platform, upon which seats had been reserved for certain representatives 
of the different churches. Gypsy Smith and I went into the auditorium 
together. As we came out of the committee room facing the packed 


auditorium, applause started in various parts of the room, which increased 
steadily, and as we reached the steps to the platform, to mount which 
Gypsy Smith assisted me, as I was on two crutches, the delegates and 
audience arose almost en masse, and also most of those on the platform. 

I did not attribute any personal significance to the matter, but supposed 
they were applauding my companion, a distinguished evangelist, and I 
quietly took my seat by his side. The applause continuing, I quietly said 
to him, "Get up and acknowledge their applause." Much to my surprise, 
he said, "They are not applauding me. They are applauding you." I 
swept my eyes over the auditorium and over the platform. I saw that 
Bishop Mouzon on the platform, and that Mr. Josephus Daniels sitting 
on the front row just below me, were not standing or applauding, and 
I realized that Gypsy Smith was correct, and arose and bowed my ap- 
preciation of this tribute given to me at the very time that the newsboys 
were crying that I had been indicted. On the following day I took a seat 
on the back row on the ground floor, and was surprised at the applause 
with which I was greeted, which continued until I came from the back 
row to the front. 

During the difficult years of persecution and trial from 1931 to 1934 
I was faced from time to time with the fact that a persistent effort was 
being made to stir up sentiment in the Church against me. I did not 
allow the knowledge of this fact to affect the performance of my duty 
as chairman of the Board of Temperance and Social Service. I attended 
annual conference sessions in various parts of the Church in 1932 and 
1933, where I was greeted in every case with great audiences, and with 
great applause. Necessity compelled me to live at that time in Washing- 
ton, but I was in Virginia and in North Carolina many times during those 
years. I found that Bishop Mouzon, especially after the death of Bishop 
Beauchamp, when he was placed in charge of the Virginia and Baltimore 
Conferences, did not hesitate to express his opinion that I should be 
retired at the next General Conference, and, indeed, he said in the 
presence of some of my friends that he would see to it that I was re- 

When the General Conference of 1934 met at Jackson, Mississippi, 
I was being tried on indictment for criminal conspiracy to violate the 
Corrupt Practices Act. The trial ended on Friday, April [27, 1934], with 
a verdict, which I knew would be given, of not guilty. 

I wired immediately to Jackson, stating the result, and stating that 
I was leaving immediately for the General Conference. In the meanwhile, 
without waiting for any personal statement from me, the Committee on 


Episcopacy had voted 42 to 28 for my superannuation, and I had this 
unfavorable action to face and to overcome. Personally, I had no doubt 
but that I would be able to overcome the unfavorable report and to secure 
a good majority in favor of my retention by the General Conference. But 
I realized that the matter must be handled with great care. 

I arrived in Jackson on Sunday morning. That afternoon a number 
of my friends from different parts of the Church came to see me to find 
out what my attitude would be. I told them that I expected to ask for 
a hearing before the committee and state the facts as to my condition, 
and that I felt certain that I could secure a reversal of the unfavorable 

On Monday afternoon, somewhat to my surprise, one of my best 
friends of many years' standing, Mr. W. W. [Milam], of the Baltimore 
Conference, came to see me. He told me that I knew what his own per- 
sonal attitude was, that he thought, in view of the great persecution which 
I had endured, that the Church should take whatever action I desired as 
a proof of its loyalty to me, especially so since the civil courts had acquit- 
ted me, but he said that he had been requested by some persons who 
claimed to be friends of mine to come to urge me to go before the Com- 
mittee on Episcopacy and request superannuation. 

He said that Bishop Mouzon, who was the bishop in charge of Vir- 
ginia and Baltimore, had had a long conference with him and had in- 
sisted that for the good of the Church he should use his influence with 
me to get me to ask for superannuation, that if I did not voluntarily do 
so, it would precipitate an unfortunate and possibly bitter discussion on 
the General Conference floor, which, Bishop Mouzon said, would of 
course result in my superannuation. 

I asked Brother [Milam] whether he really thought, with his knowl- 
edge of all the facts, that I should make any such request. He said very 
frankly, "No, I do not think you ought to do so. I told those who asked 
me to come and see you, and Bishop Mouzon also, that I would come and 
make the statement to you which I have made, but that if you asked me 
for my advice, I would advise you not to ask for superannuation." I then 
said, "Certainly, I shall not ask for superannuation, but shall insist on 
being retained on the effective list." 

Brother [Milam] made his report to Bishop Mouzon, and to others, 
and from that time until the taking of the vote my friends came to my 
room in great numbers and expressed their agreement with my decision. 
I went before the Committee on Episcopacy and stated the amount of 


work which I had done since the General Conference of 1930, emphasized 
the great improvement in my health, as shown by my " graduation" from 
two crutches to a cane, and requested that I be retained on the effective 
list. The committee reversed its previous vote of 42 to 28 against me to 
a vote of 38 to 37 in favor of my continuance on the list of effective 
bishops, and ordered the report to be made to that effect. 

IX, Prokitition, ^National and International, 




At the general conference which met in Atlanta, May, 2, 1918, it 
was generally thought that I would be elected as one of the bishops 
of the Church. As I have indicated at some length elsewhere in this 
book, 1 I had no ambition to be elected bishop; indeed I had serious 
misgivings as to where my duty lay, because of the effect which such an 
election and acceptance would have upon some of the activities which 
I was carrying on. I did not, however, think that it would make any 
special difference in the work which I was doing in connection with 
prohibition and other social reforms. I was insistent, as heretofore at 
previous General Conferences, that the General Conference should go 
on record in the strongest possible terms for the ratification and enforce- 
ment of the Eighteenth Amendment, and to that end prepared and had 
sent to the committee such resolutions. . . . 2 

I also advocated the appointment by the General Conference of a 
Commission on Temperance and Social Service, which should hold 
conferences and express the sentiments of the Church from time to time 
on social questions. The Conference agreed with that proposition and 
appointed a commission of seven but with no appropriation to carry 
on its work. The commission was composed of three preachers, three 
laymen, and one bishop. I was elected bishop and, after a great personal 
conflict, accepted. When I was elected, my record, as stated above, was 
known by the General Conference, as it was by my Virginia friends, 
for those who opposed my election set forth all the facts in my career up 
to that time. 

When the Committee on Assignments made its first draft, I was 

1. See pp. xi-xvii. 

2. The Report of the Committee on Temperance assumed that ratification of the 
Eighteenth Amendment would have taken place by May, 1919, and stated, "We rejoice 
in unparalleled nationwide victories which have been won in the warfare against the 
liquor traffic and the social evil" (Journal of Eighteenth General Conference, Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, 191 8, p. 276). 


put down for Brazil. When this assignment was noised abroad through 
the Conference, Dr. George R. Stuart, Mr. John R. Pepper, and some 
others went to Bishop Atkins, the chairman of the Committee on 
Duplicate Assignments, and Dr. Stuart in his usual vigorous style de- 
clared that such an assignment was contrary to good "horse sense," that 
the whole Conference knew that I was the superintendent of the South- 
ern Assembly and chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Anti- 
Saloon League, and that I should be assigned to work where I could 
easily keep in touch with both those important interests. It was further- 
more stated to the Committee that should the assignments be read out, 
a resolution would be offered on the floor of the General Conference 
protesting against such assignment and calling for a revision of the 
plan. 3 

The plan was revised, but I was sent nearly as far away as I could 
have been from [sic] the North American Continent. I was given the 
Northwest Texas, the New Mexico Conferences, and the work among the 
Mexicans in the United States and Mexico, causing much expenditure 
of time and money to go to Lake Junaluska and to Washington from 
my home, which was located, after consultation with the Board of Mis- 
sions, at San Antonio, Texas. I was chairman of the Board of Tem- 
perance and Social Service, which position I held for sixteen years until 
the work of the board was divided among other agencies at the General 
Conference of 1934. While no appropriation was made for the work of 
the commission, authority was given to make special appeals for funds. 
This I did, and secured from friends of the cause sufficient funds to pay 
for the holding of meetings of the commission every summer at Lake 
Junaluska and for such secretarial work as was absolutely necessary. 
The functions of the commission were set forth in sweeping language: 

To consider the demands of Temperance and Social Service upon our 
Church and our people; to formulate plans for the correlation of the various 
agencies of the Church in any way charged with these interests, and to 
plan for the more thorough instruction of our people and the direction 
and development of their activities. 

It is perhaps as well to state here as anywhere else that the General 
Conference never did make any adequate appropriation to carry on the 
great work committed to the commission in the statement given above. 
The commission from the time of its establishment until its absorption 
was always cramped for the lack of funds to carry on adequate promo- 
tional work. It was never my thought as chairman of the commission 
to confine its activities to the question of prohibition, but at the very 
first meeting of the commission at Lake Junaluska, August 10, 1918, in 

3. Sec pp. 213-214. 



the statement adopted and sent out to the Annual Conferences, the 
commission declared that it 

would emphasize the fact that the work of the Commission is not only not 
antagonistic to the great evangelistic aim of the Church of Jesus Christ, 
nor does it in any way minimize the preaching of the Gospel of Repentance 
and Faith, but the Gospel of Social Service as an application of the teaching 
of Jesus Christ our Lord to the activities of life in every sphere of human 

The work of the commission will be emphasized from time to time 
in chronological order. 

When the General Conference adjourned, my first duty was to 
return to Blackstone for the closing of the work of the school year, 
and to lay plans for turning over the work to a successor who would 
carry on the work with success. At the close of commencement I went 
at once to Washington to make my report to President Wilson and later 
to Secretaries Baker and Daniels. 

This conference was the longest I ever had with President Wilson 
on any subject. The attitude of the President was quite different from 
that when I had last seen him. While weighed down with responsi- 
bility, he showed the spirit of a man who, having taken the action which 
he believed to be right, was now eager to accomplish a great purpose. 
"More and more force" was his attitude; his questions were numberless 
about every phase of conditions in France and Great Britain. I thought 
that at heart he had a far greater admiration for the British than for 
the French* although he spoke in high praise of Marshal Foch. He 
fully approved the sweeping orders of General Pershing and his staff 
concerning moral conditions, and thanked me most graciously for the 
work which I had done. At parting he said, "When the war is over, 
we must make a new world," and his whole face lighted with his hope. 

I resigned as superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League of Virginia, 
but at the urgent request of the Executive Committee I agreed to re- 
tain my membership on the Executive, the Legislative, and the Head- 
quarters Committees, and have continued on the Executive Committee 
until [now]. 

On November n, 191 8, the Armistice was signed, which brought 
to an end all active troop operations. I did not know until the Armistice 
was declared how great had been my underlying concern, not to say 
anxiety, for my son James, who I knew was in the front line of battle 
as division chaplain of the First Division. I knew that while he was a 
chaplain, he was very often in the very midst of the hail of bullets and 
shells. There had appeared in the Stars and Stripes, the paper of the 


American Expeditionary Force, an article in which reference was made 
to the work of "Rev. James Cannon III." It said: 

"That new Chaplain of ours is no slouch either," said a man from the 
engineers. "Name's Cannon. Don't know where he comes from. Not a 
Catholic, I imagine. Don't know just what his Church is. Nobody does. 
He made a good many friends on hill 269. I guess you know it was the 
Engineers who [took] that little old hill, and a rotten hard fight it was for 
we haven't a lot of machine guns and hand-grenades and fancy things like 
you fellows have, just rifles and shovels for us. Well, that Chaplain, he was 
in the thick of it every minute. I will never forget him burying that officer. 
Dug the grave with one of those dinkey little Medical Department axes. 
Covered him over, dropped on his knees and whistled taps over the grave. 
That Chaplain doesn't know what fear is." 

I suppose every father and mother who had a son in the army in 
France felt as did my wife and I — great personal relief that active war- 
fare was over. And I think that those in authority were unwilling to take 
responsibility for the wounding or death of another soldier. I have al- 
ways thought, however, that it could have been made one of the terms 
of the Armistice that a strong division of the Allied Armies should 
march through the Rhineland and Central Germany to Berlin and 
occupy the German capital until the treaty of peace was finally signed. 
Such action I have always thought would have had a most salutary effect 
upon the entire German nation, and upon the Kaiser and his war lords. 

I had become strongly impressed by my contacts with the temperance 
workers in Great Britain and France that it was important to develop 
some form of international organization of a somewhat different order 
from the International Congress against Alcoholism. I discussed this 
matter very thoroughly with Dr. Ernest H. Cherrington, whom I con- 
sidered to be a man of the broadest outlook in the temperance and 
prohibition work. He had already been giving much consideration to 
the same subject. A meeting of officers and workers of the Anti-Saloon 
League of America was called in November, 191 8, at Columbus, Ohio. 
At that meeting a commission was appointed to arrange for a con- 
ference to represent the views of the Anti-Saloon League, and to develop 
sentiment for an international organization. Unfortunately, all the mem- 
bers of the commission appointed could not go to Europe; and the rep- 
resentatives of the League at the Conference held at Paris were Dr. 
Henry Beach Carre of Vanderbilt University, who was doing war work 
in France; Mr. L. B. Musgrove of Birmingham, Alabama, a member 
of the National Executive Committee; and I. I went as a representative 



not only of the Anti-Saloon League, but as chairman of the commission 
of my Church. . . . 

Before sailing I went to the session of the Virginia Conference at 
Charlottesville, and there with the almost certain assurance that national 
prohibition would be a reality before I spoke again at that Conference, 
in bidding farewell to my brethren with whom I had worked side by side 
for thirty years, I emphasized as strongly as I possibly could that the 
third step of the Anti-Saloon League program — law enforcement — would 
in my judgment be the most difficult, and that it was of vital importance 
that the state and national Anti-Saloon League should be maintained 
in full vigor. . . . 

I sailed for Europe on the steamer Caronia on December 21, and 
after a delightful voyage with no fear of submarines landed in Liverpool 
in due time. My first work was to confer with the leading temperance 
workers of Great Britain and lay before them our plans for the Paris 
Conference. I told them I intended to ask Lord D'Abernon 4 to preside 
at the conference, at which they were somewhat surprised, but I decided 
that it would be the wise thing to have representatives from all the 
different groups in Great Britain and on the Continent. I wanted to se- 
cure the greatest possible impact upon the Peace Conference for certain 
resolutions which I had prepared on shipboard. These resolutions, which 
were discussed and afterwards adopted with some slight changes in the 
Paris Conference, were as follows: 

To provide for the complete and effective prohibition of the liquor 
traffic among those native races to which the Peace Conference will not 
accord the right to determine their own form of government, such pro- 
hibition to apply to all persons living within the territory inhabited by 
those native races. 

To provide that no nation to which the Peace Conference accords the 
right of self-government shall be limited in any respect in its right to 
prohibit the manufacture, sale or importation of intoxicating liquors or 
narcotic drugs so that it will be impossible for any foreign government 
under the guise of any form of treaty agreement to impose upon any free 
people such traffic contrary to the expressed will of the people concerned. 

To provide for absolute prohibition of the liquor traffic within the 
Republic of Liberia inasmuch as the liquor traffic in that Republic, owing 
to its location, is exceedingly destructive in its effect upon the native races 
of the adjacent countries. 

In my discussion with the British and French temperance workers 

4. Lord Edgar Vincent D'Abernon (1 857-1941) was a British diplomat and M.P. 
He served as Ambassador to Berlin (1920-1926) and chairman of the Central Control 
Board (1915-1920); author of Alcohol, Its Action on the Human Organism. 


I emphasized that all the groups — moderates and total abstainers — could 
unite in support of these resolutions, which I thought were entirely 
appropriate for insertion in the peace treaty. In preparing the invitation, 
however, to attend the International Temperance Conference in Paris 
I set forth three special objects of such a conference: 

First: What temperance proposals should be laid before the Peace 
Conference for its consideration? Second: What special measures of de- 
fense against alcoholic excesses had been taken during the war, and what 
results had followed such measures? Third: What measures should be 
taken after the establishment of peace to carry on temperance work through- 
out the world? Also what efforts should be made to establish an International 
Bureau for accurate research and statistical information? 

From my conferences with Lord D'Abernon in March, 1918, I 
thought that he would be greatly interested in the second object of the 
conference, as he had given a great deal of time to the work of the 
British Liquor Control Board and had secured very fine results. So after 
talking it over with Lord and Lady Astor, I went to see Lord D'Abernon 
and told him what we had in mind. After our conference he wrote me 
stating that he would be glad to comply with my request, and so I 
issued invitations to temperance and prohibition workers in Norway, 
Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, France, Great 
Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa to attend 
the Conference to be held in Paris beginning on April 1, presided over 
by Lord D'Abernon. 

This Conference continued for several days, and was rather unique 
in the freedom and range of the discussion. Dr. Bratt, the originator 
of the Bratt System in Sweden, had a full hearing. Lord D'Abernon 
presented with much detail the restrictive regulations which had been 
put in effect in England, the hours of sale having been reduced from 
sixteen to nineteen hours per day in some sections to two and a half 
hours in the middle of the day and three hours in the evening. This 
reduction of hours of sale, including the elimination of morning sales 
and of late night sales, had resulted in a great decline of convictions 
for drunkenness; in Great Britain from 235,000 in 1913 to 68,000 in 
1 9 1 7, and in Ireland from 54,000 to 22,000. There had been a correspond- 
ing decrease in the amount of foodstuffs used for brewing and distilla- 
tion. The wine-growers and the advocates of wine-drinking presented 
their plan as a cure for the drinking of hard liquors, the French point- 
ing out the great difference in the drunkenness in Normandy and 
Brittany, where spirits were largely used, and in the rest of France, 
where beer and wine were the drinks of the people. The Blue Cross, 


the Good Templars, and the prohibition advocates presented the re- 
sults obtained from total abstinence and prohibition. 

The conference was practically unanimous in its appeal to the 
Peace Conference for adoption of the resolutions as indicted above. The 
delegates from the various countries interviewed the delegates from 
their own countries in favor of such action. I saw President Wilson 
personally twice during the conference and he readily promised his 
support to our proposal. On the second occasion Prime Minister Lloyd 
George was in the anteroom, and President Wilson called him in and he 
also gave hearty approval. . . . 

Practically all the outstanding leaders of British, Irish, and con- 
tinental temperance organizations were present at Paris. As the United 
States had just ratified the Eighteenth Amendment under the recognized 
leadership of the Anti-Saloon League and the Woman's Christian 
Temperance Union, and, as the League was the host of the Paris Con- 
ference, paying all the expense of the continental delegates, speakers 
for the League were accorded full opportunity to explain the reasons for 
the adoption of the Eighteenth Amendment and the scope of the new 
Prohibition Law in the United States. . . . 

Acting upon correspondence from America with Dr. Cherrington, 
we sounded out the delegates on the question of going to the United 
States and Canada for the holding of a world-wide Prohibition Con- 
ference. Nearly all the delegates favored such a conference, and as a 
result arrangements were made for a conference which opened in Toron- 
to, Canada, on May 22, 1919, and was adjourned from there to meet in 
Washington, D. C, on June 4, 1919. 

This conference was attended by representatives from more than 
fifty countries. Official representatives from the leading temperance or- 
ganizations in fifteen different nations were present and took part in 
the deliberations. The delegates, on June 7, 191 9, organized the World 
League against Alcoholism, with a constitution which pledged the 
League to the same nonpartisan political attitude as that held by the 
Anti-Saloon League of America. Four joint presidents were elected: 
Miss Anna A. Gordon, U.S.A.; Dr. Robert Hercod, Lausanne, Switzer- 
land; the Right Honorable Leif Jones, London, and Dr. Howard H. 
Russell, U.S.A. Dr. Ernest H. Cherrington was elected General Sec- 
retary, which position he has continued to hold down to the present 
time. Owing doubtless to my contacts with many of the delegates at 
the Paris Conference, I was elected chairman of the Executive Com- 
mittee, which position, with a short interval of a year, I have held 
continuously until now. 


The General Secretary, Dr. Cherrington, arranged very promptly 
for the opening of an office of the World League against Alcoholism in 
London, also for assistance and co-operation with the International Tem- 
perance Bureau at Lausanne, and shortly afterwards for representatives 
of the World League in the Scandinavian countries. As Dr. Cherrington 
was unable to find time to visit Europe, I, in connection with the Federal 
Council, the Life and Work and the Faith and Order Movements, visited 
the London office regularly every year for many years. It was admirably 
located at 69 Fleet Street, London, directly opposite the "Cheshire 

I have got a little ahead of my narrative in order to present all the 
facts concerning the Paris Conference together. Of course, we went 
almost immediately to France to see my son James Cannon III, and to 
accompany my daughter Virginia to Coblenz, the base from which 
the operations of both of my children were directed. I preached, as in 
1918, every Sunday and on week days to the soldiers, and established reg- 
ular headquarters in Paris at the small, well-kept, moderate-priced, con- 
veniently located Atlantique Hotel, where I have stopped nearly every 
summer since that time. There I did my preliminary work for the 
April Conference, and then my daughter Lura Lee and I went back to 
England. . . . 

Arrangements were made for me to speak in numerous places in 
Great Britain and Ireland, and I spoke, as I now recall, in Belfast and 
Dublin, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Hull, New Castle, Sheffield, York, 
Manchester, Reading, Plymouth, and a number of places in London 
and its suburbs. 

The attitude of the British public generally was quite friendly in 
all places where I spoke in 1919. The people wanted to hear about 
American prohibition. I did not attempt to tell my audiences that they 
should adopt the American method, but I did tell them how we had 
fought the liquor traffic in America and what the adoption of the 
Eighteenth Amendment meant. The "Trade," as the liquor traffic is 
called in England, was of course very hostile, and attempted on a few 
occasions to heckle and to create disturbance. But in Edinburgh three 
men who attempted to interrupt were taken by six other men by head 
and heels and unceremoniously thrown from the building, and in Read- 
ing a man who persisted in interruptions was taken out by the police. 
Newspaper comments, while critical, were not vicious. The daily paper 
of Hull stated that "The Bishop's address at Thornton Hall was full 
of cogent reasoning and delivered with that incisiveness characteristic of 
great leaders of American thought." After all the addresses there were 



many questions asked, as is common in British public meetings. The 
Manchester Guardian quoted from the address in Manchester as stating, 
"In the states we found the traffic entrenched behind the law. Fighting 
through every legislative channel, enlisting every religious body and 
organization, the Anti-Saloon League was not satisfied till it so altered 
the law that it became criminal to produce and to sell alcohol as a bever- 

At the close of my address at Oxford, where I had been introduced 
by President Carlisle as Bishop Cannon of Washington, a stately look- 
ing lady, evidently an Anglican, came to the platform and propounded 
the, to her, very puzzling question: "Well, what are you? Are you a 
canon, or are you a bishop?" and was apparently much relieved when 
she realized that no ecclesiastical impropriety had been committed but 
that my name was Cannon and my title was Bishop. . . . 

I made many valuable contacts and some friendships in Great Britain 
in 1919. In some respects the most interesting person I met was Sir 
William Robertson Nicoll, the celebrated editor of the British Weekly, 
which was then in the heyday of its power and influence. 5 He invited 
me to come out and spend the evening and take tea with him at Hamp- 
stead. He was lame and did not meet me at the door, but I was met 
by a serving woman who guided me carefully up the stairs and along 
the hallways to his study. Every available foot of floor space, except 
what was absolutely necessary for the feet of the walker, was covered 
with books, all with the back giving the title showing what was below. 
How many thousands of volumes there were I could not conjecture. 

I have never met a man of greater versatility, nor one who expressed 
his views concerning subjects, and especially persons, with more care 
(I would not say caution). He had decided convictions and opinions, 
as all who read the British Weekly knew, and his support was gready 
desired by British Prime Ministers. I am sorry to say that I met 
him only twice, as he died shortly afterward. I do not know of any 
commendation which I prized more highly than the one he printed in 
the British Weekly in which, after making some quotations from an article 
which I had written on the fight against the liquor traffic in Great 
Britain, he said: "Of all the able Americans who came over to speak 
in the Scotch local option campaign, the ablest seemed to me to be 
Bishop James Cannon, Jr." 

. . . My Continental experiences, apart from the Paris Temperance 
Conference, were quite varied and unusual. I was in Paris for parts 

5. Sir William Robertson Nicoll (1851-1923) edited the British Weekly (1886-1923) 
and was author of a number of books, most of them religious. 


of several weeks, both before and after the Temperance Conference. I 
preached on Sunday, usually out in the camps of the Army of Occupa- 
tion, as often as possible in the Coblenz area, where my son and daughter 
were stationed; occasionally at English-speaking Paris churches. 

A commission was sent over from the Methodist Episcopal Church 
and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to investigate the postwar 
conditions. That commission consisted of Bishops W. F. Anderson, 
T. S. Henderson, and E. H. Hughes of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
and Bishops James Atkins, W. R. Lambuth, and James Cannon, Jr., 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Additional members of the 
commission were the Foreign Mission Secretaries, Drs. Frank Mason 
North and W. W. Pinson. My daughter, Lura Lee, and Mr. Stanley 
High, two secretaries to the party, furnished the young life. This com- 
mission visited sections in France and then went to Italy, where, under 
the direction of the Italian government itself, the commission was car- 
ried into the extreme northern part of the war zone between Italy and 
Austria over to the East as far as Trieste, and carried around Rome in 
a dirigible air machine, the first time I had ever been in any sort of air 
vehicle. It was a very roomy airship, and our party of about forty had 
ample room to walk around and to look at the "Eternal City" from 
the heavens above. It gave me the best idea of Rome that I had ever 
had, but I was quite content when the air journey came to an end. I 
much preferred to take the view from Monte Mario, a central part of 
which, overlooking St. Peter's and the Vatican Palace, had been bought 
by the Mission Board of the Methodist Episcopal Church 

Dr. Thomas Nelson Page, of Virginia, was the American ambassador 
at that time, and he entertained my daughter and me at the embassy 
and arranged with King Victor Emmanuel for a luncheon at the 
palace for our commission. The King is rather a small, inconspicuous- 
looking man, but very pleasant and democratic. The Queen is very 
handsome, but also received us without any kind of stiffness. Both 
Ambassador Page and King Victor Emmanuel were greatly interested 
in the prohibition situation in America. Dr. Page indulged in many 
hearty laughs at the maledictions which had been hurled at my head 
in letters which he had received from some of his Virginia friends. 

Of course the matter of all-absorbing interest was the peace treaty. 
In the interviews I had with President Wilson concerning the prohibition 
features of the peace treaty, I ventured to ask some questions as to the 
progress which was being made on the treaty. At the first interview he 
seemed to be quite optimistic, giving me the impression that he hoped 
to get a treaty embodying the aims for which he had brought America 



into the war. At the second interview, which was shortly before he 
called for the George Washington to carry him back to America, he was 
evidently under heavy strain. The French, under the leadership of 
Clemenceau, and the Italians, led by Orlando, had shown that their 
governments had very little idealism in their conception of a peace 
treaty; having fought in the war, they wanted the spoils of war. Lloyd 
George himself had all the idealism of a Welshman and gave President 
Wilson backing in a general way, but when the crisis finally came, the 
President was obliged to yield his views on many matters in order to 
have written into the treaty the Covenant of the League of Nations. 
That was the child for which he fought with all the tenacity and vigor 
of his being. He made the French and the Italians, and Lloyd George 
also, realize finally that without the League of Nations Covenant there 
would be no treaty by the United States. 

The history of those days has been written by abler pens than mine, 
but I held then and I hold now, some years later, that the plan proposed 
by President Wilson, had it been ratified by the United States Senate, 
would have brought in an entirely new era in the life of the world, and 
would have prevented the development of the tragic, menacing con- 
ditions which once again prevail in Europe. The United States was the 
stabilizing influence in making the Versailles Treaty. She, together with 
Great Britain and her Dominions, would have been the great stabilizing 
influence in the League of Nations at Geneva. Incessant hours of labor 
and the terrific strain of those treaty-shaping days sapped very greatly 
the vitality of President Wilson and had much to do with his breakdown 
on his western speaking trip in the United States. 

On our return to London we found awaiting us a very cordial, not 
to say pressing invitation from Rosalind, Countess of Carlisle, 6 and her 
daughter, Lady Aurea Howard, whom I had met in 1913, to come and 
visit them at Castle Howard, the ancestral seat of the Howards in 
Yorkshire. As the Countess of Carlisle was the President of the World's 
Woman's Christian Temperance Union and had been an active tem- 
perance worker all her life, I was glad to accept the invitation. 

We spent three days at Castle Howard. I found the Countess, al- 
though eighty-four years old, quite vigorous mentally, keenly alive to 
every development of the temperance work. I had been told, almost 
warned, that I must be careful as the Countess was not accustomed 
to any contradiction. Whatever may have been her habit with others, 

6. Rosalind Frances, Countess of Carlisle (1845-1921), was a Liberal in politics, a 
suffragette, an enthusiastic temperance worker, and headed the National British Women's 
Temperance Movement from 1903. 


to both my daughter and me she was simply a bundle of interrogation 
points, and wanted to know our opinions, whether they agreed with 
hers or not. I had the feeling that she rather enjoyed talking to people 
who forgot that she was a countess, and answered in straightforward 
American fashion. She had never met Major or Lady Astor personally, 
but had followed their open expressions or opposition to the "trade." 
She did not favor, however, Major Astor's proposed Liquor Purchase 
Bill, but thought the fight should be made for local-option laws such as 
Mr. Asquith, the Prime Minister", had granted to Scotland. 

The following year the Countess wrote me that she had decided 
to resign as president of the World's Woman's Christian Temperance 
Union and thought that the presidency should go to the United States. 
On receiving that letter, I wrote her at once, stating: 

I am so greatly interested in all matters pertaining to the prohibition 
movement throughout the world, I venture to insist that in my judgment 
it will be far better for the world-wide movement if the presidency of the 
World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union remains in Great Britain, 
and the first vice-presidency in the United States. I sav this not as a matter 
of impulse, but as a conviction, based upon the knowledge I have gained 
of conditions both in Europe and America. 

I received in reply a letter from Miss Agnes Slack, who acted some- 
what as her secretary sometimes, stating that perhaps I was right as to 
the presidency remaining in Great Britain, but that she thought she 
should resign. This purpose she carried out, but on a visit to her 
daughter, Lady Cecelia Roberts, in 1920 I urged, and I think persuaded 
her to accept the position which her mother had vacated. 

On my return to the United States I found it necessary that the 
Legislative Committee should plunge at once into work to secure the 
passage of a satisfactory law-enforcement law. This law, later known 
as the Volstead Act, was drafted by a committee of lawyers, mostly 
Anti-Saloon League officials, headed by Dr. Wayne Wheeler. 7 From 
my experience in drafting the Mapp Law in Virginia I was not satisfied 
with the law, because I did not think it met the needs of national 
prohibition enforcement, and [felt] that it contained some ambiguous 

Dr. Wheeler was somewhat inclined to forget that, while he was 
attorney for the league, there was an active Legislative Committee, and 

7. See p. 118 n. 5. 


there was still a Legislative Superintendent other than himself. He 
began to take some actions independent of the committee similar to those 
which had been criticized in Dr. Dinwiddie in earlier years. He mani- 
fested somewhat of a disinclination to do teamwork. He was always 
amiable and accepted pleasantly objections which the committee made 
to his independent activity. But he began at that time to develop the 
feeling that he was responsible for the work at Washington, and that 
his views should be given controlling, indeed decisive, weight. 

This ever-increasing conviction on the part of Dr. Wheeler that his 
views should be decisive led to frequent discussions at the meetings of 
the Legislative Committee on fundamental matters, upon which some- 
times the committee took positive action, setting forth policies contrary 
to those which had been followed by Dr. Wheeler. After starting the 
reasons for his actions, Dr. Wheeler usually agreed, without any mani- 
festation of pique or resentment, that the policy for the committee was, 
generally speaking, the wise policy, but that there were occasions when 
he could not consult the committee, and he was obliged to follow his 
own judgment as to what should be done in any particular case. As 
will be indicated later on, after Dr. Wheeler became Legislative Super- 
intendent, as well as attorney, and the Republican party came into power, 
he adopted methods which he honestly believed to be wise and necessary 
for the successful maintenance of the Eighteenth Amendment, but which 
were partly responsible for the influences which contributed to its 

At the meeting of the College of Bishops in May, 1919, as chairman 
of the Commission on Temperance and Social Service, I presented the 
report of the commission, as called for by the Discipline. The report 
declared that it would be most helpful "if the College of Bishops would, 
as the representatives of our Church, make emphatic deliverance on 
law-enforcement, worldwide prohibition and the ever-increasing ne- 
cessity that the teaching of Jesus shall dominate in the social as well 
as the individual life of our people." 

Our commission, during the first year of its life, gave public recogni- 
tion to the great importance of the social and economic questions of 
the day, and sounded the note setting forth the only answer to the 
proper solution of those problems, which were emphasized year after 
year at the Temperance and Social Service Conferences held at Lake 
Junaluska and embodied in the appeal issued in 1927 "To the Industrial 
Leaders of the South." 

On November 12, 1919, after a lingering illness, Senator Thomas S. 
Martin died. His death just at this juncture was a very great loss to 


Virginia and to the nation. He was not a great orator, but he was a 
man of unusual clarity of thought, and clear, forcible, concise expression. 
His judgment of men and of political policies and of legislation was 
usually correct. He had distinct personal prejudices which he believed 
to be based upon pertinent facts. When his life in the United States 
Senate began, he was overshadowed at first by the eloquence of John 
W. Daniel, the senior Senator from Virginia, but he grew steadily in 
the esteem of his colleagues until he became recognized not only in the 
Senate, but in the House of Representatives as the strongest, safest 
leader among the Democrats on Capitol Hill, and he became by com- 
mon consent the Democratic Floor Leader during the greater part of the 
Wilson administration. 

I well recall meeting Congressman (later Senator) Carraway in the 
long corridor between the Senate and the House Chambers, and dis- 
cussing with him the vote of the Southern representatives for sub- 
mitting the Eighteenth Amendment. He told me quite frankly that he 
was too much of a States' Rights Democrat to vote for the resolution. 
I asked him if he thought that Arkansas believed in the states' rights any 
more than did Virginia. He said, "No." I replied that Virginia's senators 
and congressmen were going to vote almost unanimously for the sub- 
mission of the resolution, and when he expressed some incredulity, I 
simply said to him, "Go and see Senator Martin." He replied without a 
moment's hestitation, "If Senator Martin is in favor of that resolution, I 
will guarantee you the vote of the entire Arkansas delegation." He went 
forthwith and saw Senator Martin, and when I saw him the next day, 
he said, "Martin says it is all right, and if Virginia can vote for it, Arkansas 

My recollection is that Senator Martin advised President Wilson not 
to issue the appeal he did to the country in 191 8 to elect a Democratic 
Congress, believing that it was bad strategy and that the country would 
be far more likely to elect a Democratic Congress if the President 
simply issued an appeal to elect a Congress which would support the 
vigorous conduct of the war to a victorious close. 

Senator Martin had a great admiration and affection for the Honor- 
able Henry D. Flood, Congressman from the Tenth Virginia District, 
and told me that he hoped Mr. Flood would succeed him in the Senate. 
But when Senator Martin died, Westmoreland Davis, who had been 
elected Governor in 1917 by the split in the dry forces, appointed Con- 
gressman Carter Glass, who had been for many years a bitter opponent 
of the Virginia political "Ring," of which Senator Martin was the 
acknowledged head. 




The year 1920 was one of the busiest years of my life. The Board 
of Missions at a special meeting in January, 1920, appointed a special 
committee composed of myself as chairman and of missionary workers 
in Belgium to visit Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Poland to recommend 
what assistance the board could render to the needy people of those 
countries. So on March 13 I sailed for Europe with a double commission: 
to make the investigations desired by the Board of Missions, and to con- 
fer with Dr. Hercod, the leader of the European temperance workers, 
concerning the personnel and the attendance at the Fifteenth Interna- 
tional Congress to be held in Washington in September. 

Upon my arrival in London I went at once to see Lord and Lady 
Astor to get their viewpoint of the British situation. Baron William 
Waldorf Astor had died; and his son, Major Astor, had succeeded to 
the title and the peerage. Major Astor had endeavored to surrender his 
rights as a peer, but found there were no precedents for such action, so 
that he was obliged to resign his seat in the House of Commons, where 
he had already won a reputation as a safe, sane leader. 

But for the fact that Lord Astor had thus been taken out of the 
House of Commons to the House of Lords, and his opportunity to pro- 
pose or to support effectively social betterment and reform legislation 
was thereby greatly curtailed, I do not think Lady Astor would have 
contested for a seat in the House of Commons. But her election was not 
an accident or the result of a sudden burst of enthusiasm. She had been 
elected because her life and activities among the people of Plymouth 
had won not only their esteem and admiration, but they had confidence 
in both her policies and in her ability. 

During this campaign Lady Astor made her famous reply to the 
opposing candidate. He shouted, "Much has been said about Lady 
Astor 's six children. I have seven." With a good-natured laugh she 
called back, "I haven't done yet." To which he replied with evident 
admiration, "Neither have I." 

Lady Astor's attitude toward the drink question is well-known, and 
she made that question the occasion for her maiden speech in the debate 
in the House of Commons on the question of the "Abolition of War- 
time Restrictions upon the Liberty of the Subjects in respect to the 
Strength, Supply and Consumption of Alcoholic Liquors." Of this 
speech Premier Lloyd George said,"It was fitting that the first speech ever 
delivered in the British Parliament by a woman should be on the sub- 
ject of temperance. . . ." 


Lady Astor declared in the very beginning of her work in Parlia- 
ment that prohibition was not a partisan, political issue. It is exactly 
the position taken by the Anti-Saloon League of America and by the 
World League against Alcoholism. 

The "trade" in Great Britain is like the liquor traffic in the United 
States in its morals and its manners. Its defenders in the debate en- 
deavored to minimize and belittle Lady Astor's advocacy of the reform, 
and declared in reply "America is a very young state. They are, and I 
use the word without any offense, somewhat of a bastard race, and let 
me say with all respect they go off occasionally on a tangent." 

The "trade" also attacked Lady Astor's position on the divorce bill. 
She realized, as do all other opponents of the liquor traffic, that she 
would be misrepresented, slandered, and vilified. But in her reply 
to her constituents at Plymouth to the attacks made upon her she showed 
she would not allow any form of slander and blackmail to swerve her 
from her genuine convictions. 

These utterances by Lady Astor show that the sentiment of the 
prohibition workers of the United States concerning the liquor traffic 
was shared and openly declared by the American-born woman member 
of Parliament, and made St. James Square, London, the rallying point 
of the temperance forces of Great Britain on through the years down to 
the International Congress against Alcoholism in London in 1934, of 
which Congress Viscount Astor was the Honorary President, and Lady 
Astor the Honorary Hostess. 

After conferring with the British members of the Executive Com- 
mittee of the World League against Alcoholism, I went to Lausanne, 
where I met Dr. Hercod, and we started on a circular trip through 
the countries of Central Europe. We first saw President Seitz of 
Austria, himself a pronounced total abstainer. From there we went 
on to Germany and saw Dr. F. H. Otto Melle at Frankfurt, and Dr. 
Gonser at Berlin, representing the total abstainers and the moderates, 
respectively. . . . 8 

On my return to England I found the W.C.T.U. had arranged 
for me to speak at the City Temple and the Eastham Wesleyan Mission, 
and at the World W.C.T.U. Convention which was being held at 
Westminster Chapel, Buckingham Gate. But the thing that interested 
me most was an article in the Times of London [March 23, 1920] writ- 
ten by Professor Stephen Leacock, of McGill University, Montreal, as- 
sailing the motives and the effects of prohibition in the United States. 

8. After leaving Germany, Cannon went to Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, 
and Belgium. For details, see pp. 248-251. 



Concerning this article the Alliance News declared that its contents 
and language would seem to indicate that one of his numerous comic 
essays on "Frenzied Fiction" had accidentally found its way in to the 
columns of the Times. Realizing that an article from a man of such 
literary prominence would be used by the enemies of prohibition, I 
sent a reply to which the Times gave full prominence on April 17. 
In my article I was given an opportunity, in answering the wild, almost 
comical assertations and mistakes of the Canadian humorist, to present 
the argument for national prohibition, the reasons why the American 
people had demanded the Eighteenth Amendment, and the results which 
had followed. I gave two quotations from men of widely different 
fields of activity. 

In an editoral of the New York Evening Journal, January 17, 1919, 
William Randolph Hearst declared: 

One hundred per cent efficiency has been added at one stroke to the 
people of America. Half the misery of half the people has been abolished. 
Strong drink has destroyed more each year than the World War destroyed. 
The suppression of the drink traffic is an expression of the higher morality 
upon which we are entering. 

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle of February 26, 1920, stated: 

Frank Vanderlip, the financier, President of the National City Bank 
of New York, in his speech at the Economics Club Dinner in Manhattan 
last night said, among other things: "With a true combination of moral 
insight and plain common sense we have amended our Constitution and 
have provided the greatest single economic factor looking toward material 
prosperity ever created by legislative enactment. I believe that the economic 
value of prohibition will eventually be an influence for the prosperity of 
society the like of which will amaze ourselves and the world. 

These quotations showed very clearly the great possibilities of na- 
tional prohibition as viewed by unprejudiced men before the era of lax 
federal enforcement began. 

This reply to the Leacock article was highly appreciated by the 
temperance leaders of Great Britain. The Alliance News said: "It 
is a delightful castigation of the genial Canadian Bohemian." The 
Methodist Recorder, in an editorial, said: 

On Saturday last Bishop Cannon of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, replied to Prof. Leacock. There is little left of the professor now that 
the Bishop has replied. Bishop Cannon has for seven years been Chairman 
of the National Legislative Committee of the Anti-Saloon League of America. 
He writes from the inside and handles his pen very prettily, indeed. The 


letter is written in London. That masterly letter will earn him a hearing 
all over Great Britain and serve the cause. It is done skillfully, not after 
the blundering fashion of the humorist professor. 

It was quite surprising that the Licensed Trade News in an article, 
entitled "Leacock v. Cannon," said: 

A very pretty quarrel as it stands will be the verdict of the spectators of the 
tug war between Prof. Leacock and Bishop Cannon of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, Washington. We all know Prof. Leacock's attitude to- 
ward prohibition. Last Saturday's Times contained a communication two 
and one-half columns long from Bishop Cannon who, on his arrival in 
London, hunted up the files of the Times in order the better to study 
Prof. Leacock on prohibition. Having fed upon him, he proceeds to flatten 
him out in fine style. 

. . . On returning to Washington, I read the libelous attack made 
upon me by the National Hotel and Travel Gazette of Washington 
city, based upon my reply to Prof. Leacock. It was declared by the 
Gazette that: 

Rev. James Cannon had been responsible for the loss of a great deal 
of money by his parishioners because of his positive statements as to the 
value of certain real estate in Richmond; that he had assured parishioners 
that they were gilt-edge investments and worth their weight in gold. 

So disappointed and chagrined were the losers in the transaction that 
the minister lost his pulpit as well as the confidence of his parishioners. 

As I had never been a pastor in the city of Richmond and had 
never lost my pulpit, the whole article was a libelous one and I promptly 
sued the publishers for libel. I believe very strongly in the apostolic 
injunction, "Let not your good be evilly spoken of." And had I permitted 
this vicious libel to remain unchallenged, it would shortly have been 
circulated over the country by my enemies. The prompt filing of a 
libel suit resulted in a complete backdown by the Gazette. It agreed to 
publish a retraction and an apology and to pay my lawyers' fees and 
court expenses. As I desired nothing but vindication, such settlement 
was made. 

The Democratic National Convention met in San Francisco on 
June 28, 1920, with prohibition as one of the prominent issues. The 
Honorable William Jennings Bryan brought to the Platform Com- 
mitee a plank which he denominated as "Bone Dry." It read as follows: 

We heartily congratulate the Democratic Party on its splendid leader- 
ship in the submission and ratification of the Prohibition Amendment to the 
Federal Constitution, and we pledge the party to the effective endorsement 



of the present Enforcement Law honestly and in good faith without any 
increase in the alcoholic content and without any weakening of any other of 
its provisions. 

Tammany Hall, which was there in force with the Sachem Alfred 
Emanuel Smith present for the first time at a national convention, had as 
its champion W. Bourke Cockran, 9 who presented the following plank: 

The validity of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution has been 
sustained by the Supreme Court and any law enacted under its authority 
must be enforced. In the interest of personal liberty, to conserve the rights 
of the states, we favor legislation under the Eighteenth Amendment allow- 
ing the manufacture and sale for home consumption only of cider, light 
wines, and beer, reserving to the various states power to fix any alcoholic 
content thereof other than is fixed by Congress, as may be demanded by the 
opinion of wishers [sic] of each locality. 

Mr. Bryan spoke with great vigor and feeling for the adoption of his 
dry plank. He was handicapped in his advocacy by the belief on the 
part of very many delegates that his hope was to secure the adoption 
of the dry plank, and then put the convention in such a position that 
it would be obliged to nominate him as the only logical candidate with 
such a plank in the platform. I do not know what was ... in Mr. Bryan's 
mind. I do know that the adoption of his plank would have made 
his nomination much more probable. 

The advocates of the wet plank spoke with equal vigor, believing 
very fully that by adopting such a plank and by the nomination of the 
advocate of such a plank, the Democratic party would secure a large 
part of the wet vote in some of the pivotal states. 

The Anti-Saloon League did not ask for a prohibition plank at 
either the Democratic or Republican conventions, but Dr. Wheeler, acting 
for the National Temperance Council, spoke at both conventions in 
favor of the following law enforcement plank: 

We declare for the effective enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment 
and laws enacted pursuant thereto as construed by the Supreme Court of 
the United States. 

The representatives of the National Prohibition party were reported 
to have asked various delegates to introduce a Prohibition resolution on 
the floor of the convention. No one would agree to do so. Although the 

9. W. Bourke Cockran (1854-1923) was active in the Democratic party until 1896. 
He turned Republican, however, at this time because of the Democratic party's stand on 
the gold issue and voted for McKinley. He returned to the Democratic party in 1900 
because of the Republican party's support of imperialism. He served as a New York 
congressman from 1904 to 1909 and from 1921 to 1923. 


Republican convention had refused to make any reference to prohibition 
in its platform, Dr. Wheeler came to San Francisco and urged the 
adoption of the law enforcement plank quoted above. I was opposed 
to any action by the Democratic convention, inasmuch as the Republican 
convention had taken none. And while I did not think Dr. Wheeler had 
any right to advocate the law enforcement plank, I decided not to oppose 
him as the chairman of the National Legislative Committee, but as 
chairman of the Commission of Temperance and Social Service of our 
Church. As my statement was the first open difference of opinion 
between Dr. Wheeler and myself, I shall give in full what I said to the 
Committee on Resolutions of the Democratic convention in 1920. 

While I would have been pleased had both conventions adopted 
short law enforcement planks, yet after it failed of passage by the Re- 
publican convention, it was better for the prohibition cause that it should 
not be adopted by the Democratic convention, and I did not think Dr. 
Wheeler as a Republican should have called upon the Democratic con- 
vention to adopt a resolution which the Republican convention had re- 
fused to adopt. I believed that the greatest danger which faced the 
prohibition cause at the two conventions was that they might adopt 
substantially different planks concerning prohibition, and so make pro- 
hibition a question of party policy, thus destroying the solidarity and 
tremendous driving-power of our prohibition forces, making prohibition 
simply one of many issues in a partisan political campaign, instead of 
standing apart as a great economic, social, and moral question to be 
determined in the future, as in the past, by the nonpartisan vote of all 
the people, Republicans and Democrats alike. My statement emphasized 
that position: 

I have been fighting the liquor traffic since boyhood, and have spoken 
before Sunday schools, temperance organizations, church meetings, town 
and city councils, legislative and congressional committees; but never until 
today have I appeared before a committee of a political convention on the 
subject of prohibition; and I should not be here today but for the fact that 
it has been reported that certain state conventions had voted to urge the 
adoption of a wet plank in the Democratic platform. I am not here 
today in the capacity of chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Anti- 
Saloon League of America, but as the chairman of the Commission on Tem- 
perance and Social Service of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, which 
Church has the third largest membership of the Protestant denominations of 
our country, and a larger proportion of Democratic voters than any other 
Protestant denomination, unless it be the Southern Baptists. As the rep- 
resentative of hundreds of thousands of Democrats, I protest to this De- 
mocratic committee against any action by this convention which will put a 


wet label on the Democratic party, or brand it as the "wet" party of the 
country. The prohibition of the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors 
for beverage purposes is a great economic and social and moral issue. It has 
not been dealt with heretofore as a partisan political question. I have person- 
ally for thirty-five years participated in contests for local, state and national 
legislation, and in these contests I have never known any difference between 
Democrats and Republicans. Party lines have been absolutely ignored. The 
Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act both received the vote of more 
than two-thirds of the members of both political parties in Congress. As 
Chairman of the Commission of a great Church, including in its membership 
both Republicans and Democrats, I insist that it is unwise to change the 
policy of the past and now make prohibition a matter of party creed. If 
gentlemen are opposed to the Eighteenth Amendment, let them follow the 
methods prescribed in the Constitution to secure its repeal. If gentlemen are 
opposed to the provisions of the Volstead Act, let them make their fight in 
Congress for the repeal or modification of that act. But as a voter in good 
standing in the Democratic party I most earnestly protest against the proposal 
to make this question a party issue, and to cause thousands of Democrats to 
hang their heads in shame because a wet brand has been put upon the Dem- 
ocratic party. 

As I now recall, all the Southern senators, except the waspish Senator 
Glass of Virginia, spoke to me after the hearing and thanked me for 
making such a clear, emphatic statement, [saying] that they would vote 
against any statement in the platform, and that they were glad they 
would be able to quote me as opposed to Mr. Bryan's dry plank. Mr. 
Bryan led the fight on the floor of the convention for his dry plank, 
and Mr. Cockran for his wet plank. The vote was 762% to 356 against 
the wet plank and 929V2 to I 55 1 /4 against the dry plank. Senator Glass, 
the chairman of the Resolutions Committee, in the closing speech 
on the adoption of the platform on the floor of the convention em- 
phasized the fact that I had made a strong argument against the adop- 
tion of any plank in the platform on prohibition. After the vote 
was taken Mr. Bryan made his famous statement, "My heart is in the 
grave." I am sure that he did feel very strongly on the matter, and 
I am sure that he also thought that possibly the last chance that he would 
ever have for the Presidency went into the grave with his dry plank. 
He listened to my statement in the committee with evident disagree- 
ment and spoke of me as being an enemy, real, if not intentional, of 
prohibition. His attitude at the San Francisco convention emphasized 
my own personal conviction that Mr. Bryan could not get away from the 
hope that he could make prohibition a political asset, which view I 


thought was perfectly natural on the part of a man who had been for 
years in the stress of political life. 

In the campaign which followed preceding the election the Legislative 
Committee of the Anti-Saloon League, of which I was chairman, sent 
questions to both Senator Harding and Governor Cox concerning their 
attitude on prohibition. They stated to both candidates that the League 
would not endorse either of the candidates, but would simply publish 
their past records. In the letter to each candidate the statement was 
made: "In order that we may not misrepresent you we invite any com- 
ment on the enclosed record, or any additions thereto which you may 
see fit to make." 

Senator Harding made prompt and favorable replies to the League 
questions. Governor Cox indicated an attitude of antagonism which 
culminated in delay in his reply until the last. I did not think that either 
man was a genuine prohibitionist, for Senator Harding had told me that 
he did not consider prohibition to be a moral issue, and that his attitude 
would be determined by the votes of the people of Ohio. Governor Cox 
had been positively antagonistic to prohibition legislation as governor 
of Ohio. 

As the Democratic platform, however, strongly supported the position 
of President Wilson on the League of Nations, and Governor Cox de- 
clared himself for the platform, especially on that subject, I considered 
that issue to be of such importance that I voted for Cox and Roosevelt on 
that issue, believing that there was little choice between the two men on 
the prohibition question, except that Senator Harding would be more 
pliable, and Governor Cox more difficult when it came to matters of 
legislation. The election resulted in the defeat of Governor Cox, and the 
election of Senator Harding. On the morning after the election so deeply 
did I feel concerning President Wilson that I sent him the following 
telegram : 

President Woodrow Wilson, Washington, D. C. Aristides banished. 
Paul beheaded. Christ crucified. — God bless you. James Cannon, Jr. 

I was quite surprised to receive an almost immediate reply as follows: 

The White House, Washington, November 3, 1920. My dear Bishop 
Cannon: The President has received your telegram of November 3rd, and 
he asks me to thank you very warmly for your friendly interest. Sincerely 
yours, J. P. Tumulty, Secretary to the President. 

The rejection of the Versailles Treaty by the United States Senate had 
come as a great shock to the people of Europe. They had taken it for 
granted that President Wilson was representing the people of the United 


States in the matter of the League o£ Nations and they could not under- 
stand the failure to ratify the peace treaty. This was shown by the 
difference in spirit and attitude manifested toward me in 1920 in pro- 
hibition addresses in Great Britain, especially in Scotland. I found that 
the. people held that the United States had withdrawn its co-operation at 
a critical time in the world's history, and that we had left to the Allies, 
especially to Great Britain, the heavy burden and responsibility of the work 
of reconstruction of the shattered, well-nigh destroyed fabric of stable 
government in Europe. The refusal of our government to go to Geneva 
to bear its share of responsibility of the world's burdens had greatly 
affected the influence of Americans with the masses of the British people. 

In all of my speeches, most of which were made in the open air, the 
heckling and interruptions were of an entirely different character from 
those of 1919. I was exhorted in vigorous, somewhat profane, and oppro- 
brious language to go on back to America and stay there with the rest 
of my cowardly, money-loving, hypocritical countrymen. 

At one or the largest gatherings on Sunday afternoon on the Albert 
Square, in the very heart of Dundee, the latent antagonism of the "trade" 
could not be restrained, and the wife of a public-house keeper, possessed 
with the shrillest voice I ever heard, opened fire. She denounced the 
selfish, cowardly, money-loving, thick-skinned Yankees, who had stayed 
out of the war in order to grab the trade of the world while Great Britain 
was fighting for liberty and who had come into the war only because we 
were afraid Germany would win and we would lose all the money due us 
by the Allied nations. She denounced Americans as a race of quitters 
and shirkers who as soon as the war was over had rushed back to their 
selfish money-getting, leaving Great Britain to carry the heavy end of the 
log. She purposely scarcely mentioned the liquor traffic, but denounced 
the American attitude toward the League of Nations. It was practically 
impossible to be heard while her shrill voice was shrieking out denuncia- 
tions, and candor compels the statement that with my views on the 
League of Nations I could not make any personal defense of the position 
in which the United States had been placed by the Republican majority 
in the Senate. 

I made in the summer and fall of 1920 about forty addresses on 
prohibition in Europe, chiefly in Great Britain and Ireland. In my former 
work in Scotland in 1919 my principal base of operation was the home 
of Mr. John Dobson, a wholesale dealer in fabrics in Glasgow. It was 
a delightful experience for my daughter and me to be entertained for a 
week in a typical Scotch home of a prosperous merchant. I do not 
propose to discount our proverbial Southern hospitality, but nothing could 


have exceeded the attention paid us by the entire Dobson family. They 
were well-educated, well-read people, and up-to-date on the affairs of the 
world. . . . 

In this . . . visit [1920] to Scotland, Dunfermline was the center of 
operations, the most of my addresses being made in Fifeshire. Mr. Andrew 
Carnegie, born in Dunfermline, had done so much for his native city 
that as an American I received a most hearty welcome, and large crowds 
attended the meetings. Several meetings were held in the coal-mining 
section with Kelty as the base of operations, where I was the guest at the 
manse of the Presbyterian pastor of the Church of Scotland. He was a 
cultured, sensible man without apparent prejudice, not especially enthusi- 
astic on the subject of prohibition, not positive in his insistence on total 
abstinence, but he was a pleasant, genial host, and he and his sister, who 
kept house for him, took good care of me. . . . 

Immediately upon my return to the United States I became sub- 
merged in committee meetings in connection with the Fifteenth Inter- 
national Congress against Alcoholism, which was held in Washington in 
the beautiful building of the Pan American Union, September 21-26, 1920. 
The scope of the congress is indicated by its name. It is a Congress 
against Alcoholism, not against Alcohol. Excellent papers were presented 
on the beer and wine question by Italian, Bohemian, and American ex- 
perts, all of whom testified that beer and wine were a most prolific cause 
of alcoholism. From Great Britain, Scandinavia, Russia, Japan, China, 
South Africa, Australia, Mexico, South America, Canada, and the United 
States, strong earnest men and women of the highest character and intel- 
ligence from their respective countries joined in a testimony meeting 
concerning the ravages of alcoholism, the power of the liquor traffic, and 
the great difficulties in the way of reform, yet breathing a spirit of 
determination and hope which thrilled the Congress. From every other 
country there came a note of eager expectancy concerning the results of 
prohibition in the United States. 

Following the address of welcome by Secretary of the Navy Josephus 
Daniels there were responses by the delegates from the foreign countries 
which were an unusual blending of gratitude for the part which the 
United States had played in the war and for her lead in legislation for 
social betterment. Dr. Ley, speaking for Belgium, declared that Belgium 
was bound to the United States by the ties of an infinite gratitude and 
bonds of undying thankfulness, mingled with palpitating interest in 
watching the great social experiment of prohibition. 

The Chinese ambassador impressed upon the congress the great 
earnestness of his government to protect the Chinese people from opium 



and liquor. The message from Czechoslovakia was sent directly by 
President Masaryk. "Czechoslovakia is loaded with gratitude to the 
great President of this country, gratitude to Congress, gratitude to the 
American people who have stood by the makers of the Czechoslovak 
Republic, and we are grateful that now you serve as an inspiration in 
the struggle of my people to conquer the demon Rum. . . ." 

Under all the circumstances the most significant response was that of 
the British ambassador, Sir Aukland Geddes, probably the most outstand- 
ing man who has represented Great Britain for many years. He said: 

I felt that this was an occasion upon which no one less than the head of 
the Embassy should reply to the welcome which has been extended to us by 
the United States. More especially is it my proud privilege to reply not only 
for Britain but for Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, India 
and British Colonies throughout the world. The whole British Empire at 
the present moment watches the great demonstration which the United States 
is giving of the power to control a force which undoubtedly in its un- 
controlled way has worked great evil. It is one of the most interesting social 
phenomena which it is possible for any representative of any Government 
to observe and to report upon. I am especially charged by my Government 
to thank the Government of the United States of America for having called 
this Congress in this city at this time. My Government has instructed me 
that it must know exactly what is going on for fear we lag behind. 

Representatives of other governments made similar statements which 
there is not space to quote. But the historic fact is that nearly every 
government represented in Washington instructed its embassy to be rep- 
resented at the congress and to make report to its government of its 
proceedings. It indicated what a tremendous impression the ratification of 
the Eighteenth Amendment had made upon the whole civilized world. 
Every nation testified through its representatives that the liquor traffic 
was one of the greatest social evils, and in most cases expressed the hope 
that American prohibition would be successful. There was not one single 
deliverance from any quarter which intimated that society had not the 
right to protect itself from what was admittedly the greatest public 

The amazing effects which had followed the wartime prohibition 
measure, which became effctive July i, 1919, brought forth a frank 
statement from Comptroller Byrd S. Coler of New York, and while he 
was originally opposed to the Eighteenth Amendment, yet he now be- 
lieved in it because of the beneficial results which he had seen had fol- 
lowed it. Mr. Coler in his address put his finger upon the real sensitive 
point in national prohibition legislation, namely, federal prohibition 


enforcement. He called for greater activity and for the arrest of the 
prominent violators of the Prohibition Law, even if it included governors, 
senators, congressmen, and social and political leaders. He emphasized 
the great danger which became greater in later years, that enforcement 
officers should be guilty of complicity with violators of the Prohibition 

Mr. Coler was followed by the federal Prohibition Commissioner, 
John F. Kramer, former congressman from Ohio. 10 Mr. Kramer was 
doubtless the ablest and most incorruptible, convinced prohibition enforce- 
ment officer the federal government ever had, except Col. Amos W. W. 
Woodcock. 11 Mr. Kramer's speech is noteworthy in that right in the 
beginning of national prohibition he emphasized the necessity for an 
ample appropriation to employ an adequate force of well-trained, efficient, 
incorruptible men, to be paid salaries in accordance with the character 
of the work and with the risks involved. He stated frankly that un- 
less such a policy was adopted the prohibition law could not be ef- 
fectively enforced. 

The failure of the federal government to follow out these recom- 
mendations of Commissioner Kramer made in 1920, down to the repeal of 
the Eighteenth Amendment, is the real cause of that repeal. The closing 
of breweries, distilleries, and saloons throughout the nation, thus wiping 
out the legalized liquor traffic, and putting upon it the brand of the 
criminal, was a body blow to the traffic. The results were shown at once 
in the reduction of crime, pauperism, insanity, and other evils which 
flow from the traffic. Had the federal government agreed to follow out 
the recommendations of Commissioner Kramer, the lawless traffic would 
never have become as daring, blatant, and widespread as it did. But when 
the traffic and its friends and advocates realized how small, even pitiful, 
were the sums which were being asked and appropriated to enforce the 
law throughout the nation, the slogan of the enemies of the Eighteenth 
Amendment came to be "You can't enforce the law," whereas the 
slogan of the government should have been from the beginning "The 
money and the men will be furnished to enforce the Eighteenth Amend- 
ment and the Volstead Act as well as any other federal laws are enforced." 

I have already referred to the work done on the Volstead Law, and 
[to]my view that it was unsatisfactory in many particulars, but not in 

10. John F. Kramer (1869- ) served in the Ohio House of Representatives (1913- 
1917); but apparently never was a congressman; he was attorney-general of Ohio (1917- 
19 19) and federal prohibition commissioner (191 9-1 921). 

11. Amos W. W. Woodcock (1883- ), lawyer from Salisbury, Maryland, was Director 
of the U. S. Bureau of Prohibition (1930-1933). 


the main purpose of law. I was quite surprised, therefore, when after 
the passage of the law on October 27 it was vetoed by President Wilson, 
but was passed at once by an overwhelming majority over his veto. It 
was stated that the reason he vetoed the Volstead Act was that he did not 
think it should be enacted until the Wartime Prohibition Law had become 
ineffective. It was declared by the enemies of the Eighteenth Amendment 
that President Wilson was hostile to the amendment, and that he would 
so express himself at the Democratic convention in 1920. As a matter 
of fact, however, the men who claimed to represent President Wilson, 
Secretary Daniels and Senator Glass, both declared that he was not op- 
posed to it and did not desire the convention to take any action against 

The election of Senator Harding was on the whole gratifying to the 
Republican Anti-Saloon League leaders of Ohio, and especially to Dr. 
Wheeler. I had formed my estimate of President Harding by my contacts 
with him in the Senate. He did not impress me as having the mental 
caliber of the average President, but as a pleasant, sociable, genial poli- 
tician. He had promised that he would stand for the enforcement of the 
law and for no hostile modification of the Volstead Act. I was chiefly 
concerned to know what would be his attitude toward adequate law en- 

At the very beginning of the Harding administration there emerged 
a very clear difference of view between Dr. Wheeler and me, which 
continued until Dr. Wheeler's death. I did not think that it was wise for 
the Anti-Saloon League to be considered by the President, by the Cabinet, 
by Congress, or by the country, as a political organization or as an ad- 
junct in any way to any political party or as allied to any political 
federal administration. I therefore did not think it wise for any officer or 
worker of the League to be thought of as a dispenser of patronage of 
political officers, small or great. I thought that those charged with re- 
sponsibility should state their views as to the kind of men they thought 
should be appointed to positions concerned with the enforcement of 
the prohibition law, and I thought it was entirely proper to secure the 
records of all men standing for election or appointment for such positions 
and to give to the voters, or to the appointing powers, such facts. But 
I did not think that the League officials or workers should regard them- 
selves, or should be regarded as the advocates of the appointment of men 
for personal or political reasons; nor did I think that men desiring ap- 
pointment, or congressmen desiring to secure the appointment of friends 
or supporters should look to any official of the League as a means to se- 
cure such appointment. 


While Dr. Wheeler was simply the attorney of the Anti-Saloon League, 
his attitude on this matter was not at first so apparent, as his time was 
very largely taken up by work in the courts, in which he was both 
efficient and usually successful. His first victory was the decision of the 
Supreme Court of the United States on January 8, 191 7, upholding the 
Webb-Kenyon Law. The second was the decision of the Supreme Court 
on December 15 upholding the constitutionality of the Wartime Pro- 
hibition Act. The third was the decision of the Supreme Court, January 
5, 1920, holding that Congress has power to define intoxicating liquors, 
and on January 7, 1920, the decision that a two-thirds majority of Congress 
means two-thirds of a quorum present and voting. On June 7, 1920, the 
Supreme Court rendered a unanimous decision upholding both the 
validity of the Eighteenth Amendment and of the Volstead Enforcement 

In all of these Supreme Court cases, Dr. Wheeler rendered valuable 
service, presenting strong arguments in support of the contested legis- 
lation, but when he became Legislative Superintendent his flair for 
practical politics was so great that he could not sometimes resist the 
temptation to use the prestige and power of his position as Legislative 
Superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League to secure the making of ap- 
pointments in which the Anti-Saloon League should [not] have expressed 
a choice. 

These matters were discussed several times by Dr. Wheeler and my- 
self, and I told him frankly and positively, without heat, as chairman of 
the National Legislative Committee, I could not approve of such a policy. 
More than once I brought the matter before the Legislative Committee for 
its consideration and action. In every case, as I recall, the committee 
disapproved of Dr. Wheeler's action. He agreed with the action of the 
Legislative Committee, pleading always special reasons to justify action 
in the cases brought before the committee, but agreed that the policy 
which I insisted upon was right. 

However, when the committee adjourned, and the telephone in his 
office began to ring and letters to come in asking for League assistance 
in making an appointment, the temptation to exercise power was very 
great and hard to resist. By this policy Dr. Wheeler built up great per- 
sonal power, which I believe he conscientiously thought that he used for 
the best interest of the Anti-Saloon League and of the prohibition cause. 
I believed to the contrary, that it undermined the real power of the 
League and contributed very largely to the situation which developed in 
later years. 




In December, 1920, the Federal Council of Churches met in Boston. 
I was elected chairman of the Business Committee and presented to the 
committee, and later to the Council, resolutions concerning national 
prohibition. In . . . [these resolutions] I embodied the position which I 
have always taken concerning the enforcement of the Eighteenth Amend- 
ment, namely, that "an appropriation be made by Congress of whatever 
amount may be necessary for the effective enforcement of national 
prohibition." I have always held that the important question is not the 
amount of the money, but the efficient enforcement of the law at what- 
ever cost. 

Dr. Wheeler requested me to write to Senator Warren concerning the 
appropriation for the federal Prohibition Department, and I wrote 
Senator Warren a letter embodying the resolution adopted by the 
Federal Council, and emphasized the fact that the amount which the 
federal Prohibition Department had asked for did not provide for any 
increase in the present force, and urged that the Committee of Appro- 
priations provide for efficient administration. I give the letter to Senator 
Warren in full: 

Jan. 25, 1921 

Honorable Francis Warren 

Chairman Committee on Appropriations 

United States Senate, 

Washington, D. C. 

Dear Sir: 

The moral and religious forces of our country are tremendously interested 
in the efficient nation-wide enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment. They 
have always clearly understood that the value of the Eighteenth Amendment 
will depend upon its efficient enforcement. 

The Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, which re- 
presents thirty-three protestant bodies with twenty million members, at the 
recent session in Boston, December 1-6, declared: 

"Prohibition of the liquor traffic should be judged, not by results where the 
law is flagrantly violated, but by results in communities where the law has 
been efficiently enforced. In order that the will of the people in the adoption 
of the Eighteenth Amendment may be carried into effect, we urge that an 
appropriation be made by Congress of whatever amount may be necessary 
for the effective enforcement of National Prohibition." 

The Council holds that it is fundamental that the Constitution be enforced. 
It will doubtless require a strong force of men and ample funds for a few 
years, but wherever the Prohibition Law is honestly enforced, it will be justi- 
fied by its results. 

The Federal Prohibition Department has asked for an appropriation of 
$7,500.00 for the coming year. This amount does not provide for any increase 


in the present force, which in the view of the Federal Council should be aug- 
mented to whatever extent is necessary to secure genuine nation-wide en- 
forcement. The reduction by the House of Representatives of the amount 
asked for by the Department must of necessity result in less efficient ad- 

As Chairman of the Business Committee of the Federal Council, and also 
as Chairman of the Commission on Temperance and Social Service of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, I present to you, as Chairman of the 
Committee on Appropriations of the United States Senate, the above state- 
ment of the attitude of the representatives of the moral and religious forces 
of our country, and urge that your Committee recommend as the very least, 
the amount requested by the Department of Prohibition for the en- 
forcement of the law. 

Yours sincerely, 

James Cannon, Jr. 

Dr. Wheeler was not satisfied and wrote me a note asking why I had 
not followed his suggestion in framing my letter to Senator Warren, ask- 
ing for a definite amount in addition to the appropriation, ignoring the 
fact that I had told him that I would not write such a letter, as I thought 
the amount proposed by him was too trifling, and that he was wrong 
in not calling for whatever amount was necessary. 

To this note from Dr. Wheeler I made the following reply: 

Birmingham, Ala., Feb. 1, 1921 

Dr. W. B. Wheeler, 
30 Bliss Building 
Washington, D. C. 
Dear Dr. Wheeler: 

Why do you not admit it when you are wrong? My letter to Senator 
Warren was perfectly plain. The only trouble was that you did not read 
my letter, but glanced over it, and because it was not drawn up in the style 
in which you usually write, you did not think it was as effective as it should 
have been. You are a lawyer and I am a minister. You are expected to 
present your views in a certain way, and I am not expected to present mine in 
the same way that you present yours. I may entirely agree with the method 
you use in presenting your views, but I would very probably think that 
method not to be suitable for the presentation of my views. I have received 
some very satisfactory replies from the Senators. The one from Senator 
Harris went to Washington and Maude may have shown it to you. I am en- 
closing it, however, and after reading it kindly return it for my files. You 
will notice that he states that he is willing to vote for even more than the 
Department requests. 

I have been thinking considerably concerning the civil service proposition. 
I believe that it will be better for us to stand positively for the civil service, 



insisting, however, upon the safeguards which we discussed, and take the 
risk of the safeguards not being inserted, other than to oppose the bringing 
of the Prohibition Department under the civil service because we cannot secure 
those safeguards. I think it will be difficult to justify the latter position before 
the country and with our friends. 

I am now hoping to be in Washington in about a week. I shall be in 
Memphis at the Chisca Hotel until Thursday night. 

With kind regards and best wishes, I am, 

Yours sincerely, 

James Cannon, Jr. 

In this letter, in perfectly friendly fashion, I emphasized my position, 
and also declared my attitude toward the placing of the Prohibition De- 
partment under the Civil Service Commission. 

With the incoming of the Harding administration a determined and 
successful effort, of which I did not approve, and in which I did not join, 
was made to remove the very efficient Prohibition Commissioner Kramer 
on the ground that he was a Democrat and that the Harding administra- 
tion should have Republicans in positions of responsibility. By the 
provisions of the Volstead Act the Prohibition Enforcement Department 
was under the direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. Dr. 
Wheeler urged me, as chairman of the Legislative Committee of the 
League, to write to the President advocating the appointment of a certain 
specified individual. This I declined to do, and decided that I would 
write the President as chairman of the Commission on Temperance and 
Social Service of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. This I did 
and on March 21, 1921, I sent the President the following letter: 

March 21, 1921 

The President, 
The White House 
Washington, D. C. 
Dear Mr. President: 

I am writing you as Chairman of the Commission on Temperance and 
Social Service of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, the third largest 
Protestant denomination in the United States. As representing our Church, 
our Commission is intensely interested in the enforcement of the Eighteenth 
Amendment. We are satisfied that an overwhelming majority of the people 
of our country favor the Eighteenth Amendment, but a minority of several 
million in 119,000,000 can make a great deal of noise, and the liquor traffic 
is so blatant and defiant that many persons think that the protest against the 
Amendment is far more widespread and substantial than it really is. 

Our Commission is satisfied that the fundamental issue at the present 
time is the matter of Law Enforcement. We joined in the appeal to the last 


Congress to give adequate appropriations to the Prohibition Law. We are 
satisfied that a large majority of the coming Congress will favor adequate 
appropriations. Our chief concern at the present time is that Law Enforce- 
ment shall be in the hands of men who are entirely sympathetic with the 
Eighteenth Amendment. In short, we believe that the enforcement of the law 
should be in the hands of its friends and not in the hands of its enemies or 
former opponents. In view of the great importance of this matter to every 
home in the Republic, the Commission is appealing to you in the name of 
our great Church to appoint an outstanding, strong man as Internal Revenue 
Commissioner. Such an appointment will convince the nation that the 
President is behind the enforcement of the law, and will give added strength 
not only to every enforcement officer but to every sober, law-abiding citizen. 

Trusting that you may have Divine Guidance in meeting all the great re- 
sponsibilities pertaining to your office, I am, 

Yours sincerely, 

James Cannon, Jr. 

Chairman Commission on Temperance 
and Social Service, Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South. 

In this first letter to President Harding I emphasized, as to Senator 
Warren, that the fundamental issue was the matter of law enforcement, 
for which adequate appropriation should be made. To this letter I 
received from President Harding the following reply: 

The White House 
March 24, 192 1 

My Dear Bishop Cannon; 

The President has received your letter of March 21st, concerning the 
appointment of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and he asks me to as- 
sure you that this matter will have very careful consideration. 

The President appreciates most deeply your kindly personal suggestions. 

Sincerely yours, 

Geo. B. Christian, Jr. 
Secretary to the President 

To this position the President appointed the Honorable David H. 
Blair, of North Carolina. 12 In the meanwhile a movement had been 
started for the appointment of Major Roy A. Haynes as Prohibition 
Commissioner, 13 and Dr. Wheeler, while at first openly giving it to be 

12. David H. Blair (1868-1944), North Carolina lawyer and Republican, was Com- 
missioner of Internal Revenue (1921-1929). 

13. Roy A. Haynes (1881-1940), Ohio editor and businessman and active in the 
early prohibition campaigns, was Federal Prohibition Commissioner (1921-1927). 



understood that he was taking no part in the fight for the appointment 
of Haynes, soon was going to the limit for Haynes's appointment; indeed, 
he went to see President Harding, and in a letter to him thanked him 
for his co-operation in securing the appointment of Major Haynes by 
Commissioner Blair. 

Dr. Wheeler urged me to join with him in working for this appoint- 
ment of Major Haynes. Such knowledge as I had of Major Haynes did 
not convince me that he had the qualities necessary for an able and 
efficient administrator of the prohibition law, and while my relations 
with him were always pleasant, yet I never approved of the appointment. 
Morever, because I did not approve of the policy of Anti-Saloon League 
officials using their influence to secure the appointment of certain men, 
I declined to write Mr. Blair the kind of letter which Dr. Wheeler re- 
quested. As chairman of the commission of our Church, I did write 
to him as follows: 

May 3, 1921 

Hon. David H. Blair, 
Commissioner Internal Revenue, 
Washington, D. C. 
My dear Mr. Blair: 

I am writing you as Chairman of the Commission on Temperance and 
Social Service of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The membership 
of this great Church, which is the third largest Protestant denomination in 
the United States, is intensely interested in the successful enforcement of the 
Eighteenth Amendment. We appreciate the fact that a Southern man of your 
standing and character is at the head of the department which is in charge 
of the enforcement of the Prohibition law. We know, however, that the 
Commissioner of Internal Revenue has heavy responsibilities in addition to 
those connected with the enforcement of Prohibition, and that it is absolutely 
necessary for him to place the direct responsibility for Prohibition enforce- 
ment in the hands of the Prohibition Commissioner. 

May we not urge, therefore, in the name of our great body of ministers 
and laymen that a high grade man be chosen as Prohibition Commissioner. 
It goes without saying that the best enforcement will be obtained from a 
man who is himself sympathetic with the purpose and aims of the Eighteenth 
Amendment, and we most earnestly request that you find and appoint such 
a man. 

Yours sincerely, 

James Cannon, Jr. 

Chairman Commission on Temperance 
and Social Service, Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South. 


These letters are inserted to show that from the very beginning of 
Dr. Wheeler's activity in the distribution of federal patronage under the 
Republican administration I declined to take any part. I thought that 
from the time of the inauguration of President Harding to the time of 
Dr. Wheeler's death Dr. Wheeler acted as a partisan Republican rather 
than as a nonpolitical League officer. Many of my best Democratic 
friends in Congress told me frankly that, were it not that they were really 
in favor of prohibition measures, they would have openly resented Dr. 
Wheeler's very evident attitude of authority, if not dictatorship. I told 
Dr. Wheeler how difficult it was for me to answer the criticisms of these 
high-type Democrats, and he replied that they were unduly sensitive and 
too imaginative. 

Notwithstanding these differences of opinion, my personal relations 
with Dr. Wheeler were always very pleasant, both with himself and with 
his family. We enjoyed each other's company socially, and except on 
points of difference in policy, as indicated above, we worked together, and 
whatever differences we had were discussed behind closed doors until 
the last public statement in 1927. 

I defended Dr. Wheeler for many unjust attacks made upon him in 
Congress or elsewhere, notably from the vicious attack made by Senators 
Broussard and Thomas Watson on the floor of the Senate in July, 1921, 
concerning the amount of salary paid to Dr. Wheeler and the sources from 
which his salary came. 14 In that letter which was made a part of the 
records of the Senate, as chairman of the commision of our Church, and 
chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Anti-Saloon League I 

Inquiries made in Washington, or in any town of Louisiana or Georgia, 
would have informed you that public free-will offerings are made annually by 
nearly all Protestant churches to support the work of the Anti-Saloon League, 
including the salary of Dr. Wheeler, whose ability as a lawyer and trust- 
worthiness as a sincere reform worker are recognized by the great moral 
forces of the nation, and whose salary for all his time, every day in the year, 
does not amount to more than that received by either of you gentlemen for the 
time you devote to your public duties as United States Senators with op- 
portunities to add to your income by private work. I am glad to note that 
both the Rockefellers do subscribe to the work of the Anti-Saloon League, 
along with other thoughtful, progressive Protestant Christians who are in- 

14. Broussard accused Wheeler on July 27, 1921, of attempting to name the enforce- 
ment officers both of the national government and the various states. Watson joined in 
the attack upon the Anti-Saloon League lobby. Broussard asserted that John D. Rocke- 
feller was contributing to Wheeler's salary in order to keep an alcohol engine from 
replacing the gasoline {Congressional Record, Vol. 61, p. 4335). 



tensely interested in the absolute overthrow of the abominable, destructive, 
insolent, law-defying liquor traffic and in the development of sobriety, in- 
dustry, and morality. But the statement that the Rockfellers, or any other 
small group of men finance the Anti-Saloon League, or pay the salary of Dr. 
Wheeler is not only absolutely false, it is absurd. 

So many of our ministers and supporters were taking the position that 
the fight was won, that the amendment was in the Constitution, and there 
to stay, that it was necessary no longer to keep up in full vigor our Anti- 
Saloon League state and national organizations, that, as chairman of the 
National Legislative Committee, I issued a statement emphasizing the 
danger of the situation and the duty of the hour. I declared in that 

There must be the same determination, same earnestness, same zeal for 
the enforcement of the law there was for its passage. The opposition is of 
the same general character today as in the past. It is blatant, defiant, covetous, 
even murderous, but it is becoming more localized. Some of the large cities, 
encouraged by such wet newspapers as the New York World and the Rich- 
mond Times-Dispatch, are hotbeds of lawlessness, but even there, if the forces 
of righteousness maintain their active organizations, insist upon adequate ap- 
propriations and efficient officers, the destruction of the lawless, outlawed 
traffic will finally follow that of the legalized traffic. The duty of the hour 
is law enforcement and to stimulate all proper activities to accomplish that 
great work the Anti-Saloon League is directing all the power of its splendid 
organization. Every law-abiding citizen should support the League in carrying 
on this great work. 

I was not satisfied with the results which were being obtained by the 
Prohibition Department, and in company with Dr. Wheeler I went to 
see President Harding. He was cordial and pleasant, as always, and 
apparently quite sympathetic. But putting his hand on Dr. Wheeler's 
shoulder, he said, "Don't be impatient, Wayne. Rome was not built in 
a day. When the organization of the Department is perfected fully, you 
will be satisfied with the results." 

Conditions, however, steadily grew worse in certain sections. Laxity 
in prohibition administration became notorious, drinking among federal 
enforcement officials and employees became the theme of comment on 
the floor of Congress. I stated to Dr. Wheeler that I was going to see 
the President and enter my protest against existing conditions. He agreed 
with me as to the necessity of a protest, but to my surprise seemed un- 
willing to accompany me, saying that he might see the President later. 

I saw President Harding and reminded him of my previous visit and 
told him that I thought sufficient time had elasped for the Prohibition 


Department to show results. I presented to him, however, certain facts. 
The President frankly admitted that certain changes must be made in the 
methods and in the personnel of the department. He said that he was 
planning a trip to Alaska and that when he returned, he would give 
the matter his careful attention, but he never returned. 

In September, 1921, I attended the International Congress against 
Alcoholism at Lausanne as one of the official delegates of our government. 
At that conference I met European temperance leaders and made report 
of conditions in the United States, emphasizing that the great question 
centered around the matter of securing efficient enforcement. 

From Lausanne I went to the Ecumenical Methodist Conference in 
London to which I had been appointed as a delegate from the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South. I had been requested by the Program Com- 
mittee to deliver an address on "Temperance Reform in the United 
States of America," with a time limit of twenty minutes. At the end of 
the twenty minutes I frankly started that it was impossible to present the 
rest of the material in my address in less than ten minutes more, and 
much to my surprise even the "time-serving" Britishers voted for it. In 
that address I set forth as clearly as I could the "Why of National 
Prohibition," emphasizing the real underlying reason for the action of the 
American people. The kernel of my argument was: 

The new social consciousness brushes aside without hesitation any claim 
of an individual to perform any action, or to enjoy any privilege, which act or 
privilege is a menace to the comfort, safety, or life of other members of the 
community to which he belongs. A man's private life ceases the moment any 
act of his life affects the lives of others, or of the social order of which, whether 
he likes it or not, he is an integral part. The more highly developed our civili- 
zation, the more necessary it is to define carefully and to protect the rights of 
every member of society. The great majority of the people of the United 
States believe that the liquor traffic is the enemy of the economic, social and 
moral life of the nation, that it ministers only to appetite and covetousness, 
and for the sake of removing this menace to the social order, to the life of the 
people as a whole, this great majority have agreed to surrender whatever 
personal rights they might have claimed to use intoxicating liquors for 
beverage purpose. 

In short, the people of the United States have accepted the decision of the 
Supreme Court forty years ago, that the liquor traffic was the most prolific 
source of insanity, misery, vice, and crime, that it is indeed a public nuisance. 
The amount sold illegally is very small in comparison with the amount be- 
fore prohibition, and this amount will steadily diminish as the Prohibition En- 
forcement Law is perfected and a corps of officials is developed which is 
loyal to the law and efficient in enforcement. 


In this address I emphasized what I was emphasizing in the United 
States to President Harding and Commissioner Blair and to Senator 
Warren — the absolute necessity for a sufficient appropriation to secure 
efficient law enforcement. 

Timed doubtless by the discussion of American prohibition at the 
Ecumenical Conference, the Daily Mail, the sensational sheet of British 
journalism at that time, published an attack concerning the operations of 
prohibition in America by Lord Northcliffe, the owner of the paper, with 
a leading editorial based on the Northcliffe article. In view of these 
publications the Ecumenical Conference adopted a resolution appointing 
a committee of five to prepare a statement in reply to the Daily Mail 
publications, and requesting the Daily Mail to publish the statement. 
The committee was composed of Dr. Clarence True Wilson, Professor 
Lyman Davis, Dr. T. A. Moore, Professor J. R. Hawkins, and myself as 
chairman. It fell to my lot to draft the reply which was approved by 
the Ecumenical Conference, but which, of course, with the usual lack of 
fairness of liquor publications, the Daily Mail refused to publish. 

The statement emphasized especially the fact that Lord Northcliffe 
had made no thorough investigation of American prohibition, but what 
he had seen was confined almost entirely to New York City and Wash- 
ington, and to his experiences with drinking friends, opponents and 
violators of the law. He accepted their action as characteristic of condi- 
tions throughout the nation, and their testimony as indisputable evidence. 
All his witnesses were some chauffeurs, printers, railway men, a manu- 
facturing friend, a distinguished professor, and some few other in- 
dividuals. His article contains no quotation from any law enforcement 
official or from any official reports, nor did he quote any individual by 
name. As a sample of the reckless statements made by Lord Northcliffe, 
he said that "crime taken as a whole was increased by leaps and bounds," 
whereas the facts are directly contrary. In 191 9 the total arrests in Boston 
before prohibition were 88,593; m IQ20 > 47>682; for drunkenness and dis- 
orderly conduct, 1919, 52,682, in 1920, 16,487. For New York state the 
prison population for 1919 was 85,175; for 1920, 50,033. 

Other most significant facts as to the good effect of prohibition 
were set forth, such as the great increase in deposits in savings banks, 
the average deposits increasing from $549 in June, 1920, to $580 in June, 
1921, a gain of $31 in average deposits; whereas business depression and 
unemployment had been far worse in 1921 than in 1920. The institutes 
for treatment of drink addicts state that in the twelve years before 1920 
they treated more than 125,000 drinking men and women. In 1921 they 
did not average two patients a month, and 1921, within less than two 


years after prohibition went into effect, there was not left a single state 
hospital for inebriates in the United States. 

This report, as stated above, the Daily Mail refused to publish, and 
as it was a reply to a Daily Mail publication, the report got no circula- 
tion in the secular press of Great Britain. It was emphasized by the 
religious press as a full and sweeping answer to Lord NorthclifTe's 
extravagant and unwarranted statement. 

By the action of the General Conference of 191 8, the first two years 
of the quadrennium were given over to what is known in the Church as 
the Centenary Movement, the last two years being given over to an 
educational campaign for the strengthening of our schools and colleges. 

As one of the bishops of the Church in charge of mission fields, I 
was a member of the Executive Committee of the Centenary Movement 
and gave much time to speeches and conferences. Much to my sur- 
prise, I was elected chairman of the Educational Campaign Commission, 
owing, I suppose, to my successful work at Blackstone, and my activity 
on the General Board of Education. Following my election I moved my 
family to Nashville, but to my great surprise the College of Bishops 
added to my episcopal district the North Alabama and the Alabama 
Conferences, two of the largest Conferences in the connection. This 
addition to my episcopal district greatly curtailed my general activities 
in the educational campaign, as each bishop was expected to lead that 
work in his own episcopal district. It caused my removal to Birming- 
ham, still farther away from Washington and New York, in both of 
which cities I was connected with important committees and commis- 

I was greatly pleased in coming to live in Alabama to receive a letter 
from an old friend and co-worker in Virginia, Dr. George H. Denny, 15 
who had been president of Washington and Lee University and a staunch 
supporter of educational advance and prohibition in Virginia. In view 
of the bitter, hostile criticisms which had been hurled at me it was en- 
couraging to have this greeting. 

I hope it is not too late to express to you my sense of satisfaction in your 
coming to this section of the country. I feel that you will in due time duplicate 
in the lower South the splendid constructive service you have rendered for so 
many years in Virginia. I remember you with great affection and loyalty. 
There is certainly need in many directions of such leadership as you are able 

15. George H. Denny (1870- ) was President of Washington and Lee (1901-1911); 
President of the University of Alabama (1912-1937, 1942-1943); and Chancellor of the 
University of Alabama (1937-1942, 1943- ). 


to render, and I want you to know that if I can help in any possible way you 
have only to command me. With regards and best wishes, believe me, 

Your friend, 

George H. Denny, 
University of Alabama. 

March 24, 1921 

As indicated elsewhere, Bishop Walter Lambuth, who had laid the 
foundations for our Congo Mission, but who had been never able to 
return to hold a Conference, and to organize the work, had requested me 
to go as his representative to the Congo. Our relations had always been 
cordial and of latter years close and intimate. We had found ourselves 
on the same side in nearly all matters of importance to the interests of 
the Church. In closing his letter urging me to go to the Congo in his 
stead, he simply said: 

Much more might be said but I forebear. Blessings upon you and your 
great work. I continue to be profoundly thankful that in the Providence of 
God you have become one of the Bishops of our Church. 

I was greatly perplexed by this appeal of Bishop Lambuth's. I had 
gone through the grind of an educational campaign in Alabama 
which had covered 126 places. I had just returned from a stay in Europe 
of six weeks. I had my five Conferences to hold. The General Con- 
ference of 1922 was near at hand. 

But the matter which gave me chief concern was the efficient en- 
forcement of the federal prohibition law. Under the lead of Alfred 
Emanuel Smith the forces of nullification were heading up for a major 
attack upon the enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment in New 
York with its consequent repercussions throughout the nation. I hesi- 
tated to be absent from the country for four months, not because I 
doubted the earnest desire of Dr. Wheeler and the other League leaders 
for effective enforcement, but because I feared that Dr. Wheeler would 
not be willing to put added pressure on the Republican administration, 
lest he should lose his influence with the President, which he honestly 
believed was of the greatest importance to maintain. 

However, on the death of Bishop Lambuth, it seemed almost the dy- 
ing request of a highly honored friend that I should go to the Congo, 
and so after a final conference with the Executive Committee of the 
Anti-Saloon League I sailed once again for Europe, and after a con- 
ference in London with the Executive Committee of the World League 
against Alcoholism, and dinner with Lady Cecelia Roberts, the daughter 
of the Countess of Carlisle, now President of the British W.C.T.U., I 


went to Antwerp and took ship for Matadi in the Belgian Congo. . . . 16 
I was greatly impressed with the similarity of conditions in South 
Africa to certain sections of the South. The overwhelming preponderance 
of Negroes made the liquor problem a very grave and perplexing one, 
and I emphasized the great assistance which had been rendered by the 
leading Negro educators and ministers in our prohibition work. While 
my reception was very hearty, yet I thought that the ministers, outside 
of the Methodist, were quite conservative in their views, and that pro- 
hibition legislation would proceed quite gradually. 

During my absence prohibition had been the subject of discussion in 
almost all our daily and weekly papers because of the violent, bitter 
attacks made upon it by the secular press, which greatly resented the 
slash in their revenue by the elimination of liquor advertising, and the 
managers and editors of which for some reason, not easy to analyze, 
always oppose any restrictions upon activities of individuals affecting 
their appetites and lower sensual natures. In reply to these frequent, 
vicious, one-sided attacks the Manufacturers' Record brought out a special 
number in which it quoted the views of manufacturers of various kinds 
of products from all parts of the country. 

Judge E. H. Gary, President of the United States Steel Corporation, 
stated briefly: "Yes, results have fully justified prohibition legislation." Henry 
Ford declared, "Alcohol and gasoline will not mix. Automobiles and saloons 
cannot exist side by side. One will destroy the other." Warren S. Stone, 
Grand Chief Brotherhood Locomotive Engineers, admirably summarized 
the situation, saying: "The longer I live and the more I see of it the more 
bitterly I am opposed to the entire question of the manufacture and sale 
of liquor because I look upon it as the basis of 90 per cent of the crime 
and criminals we have in the country today. I find a marked improvement 
in the saving of money, in the buying of homes and in the homelife of the 
workman, due to the fact that the women and children have more food, 
more clothing and better cars; the worker takes his family to the picture 
shows and to the park, where he formerly spent his evenings drinking and 
spending his money in the saloons. Of course, it is true we have the illicit 
manufacture and sale of liquor, largely among the leisure class, and much 
drunkenness among young people who desire to make the world believe that 
they are fast or tough. I think I can truthfully say that drunkenness has 
decreased 75 per cent among the workers." 

Many similar statements by leading manufacturers could be quoted 
from these given by the Manufacturers' Record. They are all similar to 
those above. The Manufacturers' Record in the same issue speaks editori- 

16. For details of this trip see pp. 220-224. 


ally of the conflict which had already been started for the nullification of 
the prohibition law, led by Tammany Hall with Alfred Emanuel 
Smith as its chief spokesman. . . . 

In a careful compilation of all replies received by the Manufacturers' 
Record the tabulation gave the following remarkable results in per- 
centages : 

For prohibition in some form 98 V2 per cent; against prohibition i l / 2 
per cent; for strict prohibition 85.50 per cent; for beer and wine 7 per cent. 

This overwhelming record of the attitude of the manufacturers and 
labor leaders of the country was in striking contrast to the attacks made 
just about the same time in the Outloo\ by Mr. H. L. Mencken, who 
stated : 

In brief prohibition is a failure, and it grows a worse failure every day. 
There was a time shortly after the Eighteenth Amendment went into efTect 
when it showed some promise of being a success, especially in the farming 
regions, but that was simply because the great majority of Americans had 
not been taking the thing seriously because they had been caught unawares 
by the extraordinarily drastic provisions of the Volstead Enforcement Act. 
The instant they realized what was upon them they applied the national 
ingenuity and the national talent for corruption to the problem, and in six 
months it was solved. No man, not even the most romantic prohibitionist, 
argues that there is any thing remotely resembling a general enforcement of 
prohibition today. 

Why should 98.5 per cent of the leaders of industry in the nation 
declare positively for the continuance of prohibition if this voice from 
Baltimore is correct? While a shrewd observer, Mr. Mencken's range 
of vision was very limited, confined almost entirely to cities and to 
observation of the devices practiced by persons whom he knew, or heard 
of, to evade or violate the prohibition laws. His testimony, while doubt- 
less entirely sincere, had small value as compared with the 98.5 per cent 
of the leaders mentioned above. 

I was obliged to go immediately to the General Conference upon 
my return from Africa, having barely time to attend a meeting of the 
Legislative Committee of the Anti-Saloon League in Washington. At 
that meeting we discussed the inefficiency of the Prohibition Department 
and the need for a purging of the prohibition force of incompetent and 
unsympathetic employees. Dr. Wheeler did not think for some reason 
the time was opportune to see the President, and, as I was exceedingly 
pressed with other matters, I did not go myself, as I probably should 
have done. 


The Commission on Temperance and Social Service met at Lake 
Junaluska on July 8 [1922], and gave sweeping condemnation of the 
utterance of Secretary of War John W. Weeks, as reported in the 
secular press, calling for an amendment to the Volstead Act, permitting 
light wines and beer, absolutely unmindful of the fact that the amend- 
ment proposed a distinct nullification of the Eighteenth Amendment, 
which prohibits the manufacture and sale of "all intoxicating beverages." 
The light wine and the beer wanted by Secretary Weeks was intoxicat- 
ing, and yet he, a Cabinet officer, went out of his way to advocate such 
nullifying legislation. 

As chairman of the commission I was instructed to communicate 
to President Harding the request of the commission that the members 
of his Cabinet refrain from public utterances which by implication favor 
the nullification of the Constitution. Therefore, before I sailed for 
Europe, on my way to New York I stopped in Washington and saw 
President Harding and presented to him the resolutions of our com- 
mission, emphasizing how such an open, unrebuked, and unexplained 
appeal for nullification would produce the impression throughout the 
country that Secretary Weeks was expressing the President's own views. 

He took the matter more seriously than I had anticipated that he 
would, and said that he had hoped that the utterance of Secretary Weeks 
would not be given the prominence it had received and that he would 
talk with him about it. I then told him that our friends were not at all 
satisfied with the personnel of the Enforcement Department and with 
the results that were being obtained. He promised that he would call 
for Commissioner Haynes, and discuss the matter fully with him. 17 . . . 

In November, 1922, the second convention of the World League 
against Alcoholism was held at Toronto, Canada. This convention 
was largely attended by delegates from many foreign countries, with 
an especially large delegation, about eighteen, from my own state of 
Virginia. As chairman of the Executive Committee, I presented a re- 
port to the convention and preached in two Toronto churches to large 
audiences. This convention made a great impression upon Canada and 
encouraged temperance and prohibition workers all over the world. The 
work of the convention was organized by Dr. Ernest H. Cherrington, the 
General Secretary of the League, and by the Reverend Ben H. Spence, 

17. At this point (summer of 1922) Cannon left for Europe, holding a meeting of 
the Executive Committee of the World League against Alcoholism in London and other 
conferences at Brussels, The Hague, Berlin, and Copenhagen. He returned to England, and 
from there made a three weeks tour of the Near East. See pp. 226-228 for details of the 
trip to the Near East. 


General Secretary of the Dominion Alliance, to whose wise planning 
was attributable its great success. 

On my return from Toronto I went to President Harding to present 
to him copies of the resolutions adopted by the World League Conven- 
tion and to ask him to come out strongly in favor of law enforcement in 
his annual message to Congress. He expressed more real concern than 
I had ever seen him indicate about the attacks upon the personnel of the 
Prohibition Department. I told him very frankly that the fly in the 
ointment was permitting such appointments to be political, that wet 
Republican senators and congressmen were using these appointments to 
pay off political debts, especially as the appointments were not under 
civil service. At this (my last ) interview with the President I was im- 
pressed more than ever with his amiability and his good intentions, but 
he was not strong enough to resist the influence of associates who sought 
to put their own before their country's good. . . . 

A few days later the President appointed United States District 
Judge Sanford of Tennessee, well-known as a fearless judge, and an out- 
standing Christian character. I promptly wrote the President a letter in 
which I said: 

May I take the liberty of congratulating you upon the announcement that 
you have appointed Judge Sanford of Tennessee to the vacancy on the bench 
of the Supreme Court. I believe Judge Sanford to be a more suitable appoint- 
ment because he is from the Southern part of the country. I greatly appre- 
ciate your action in this matter. 

I received a reply from the President the next day in which he wrote 
thanking me for writing my letter, stating that he was "very glad to 
know that the appointment of Judge Sanford meets with your approval." 

So ended my relations with President Harding. . . . 

Having been appointed as a delegate to the International Congress 
against Alcoholism, I attended [in the summer of 1923] the congress 
at Copenhagen, which was reported for our religious press by Bishop 
Anton Bast, from whose report it will be seen what a great impression 
was made upon the people of Demark by the clear statement of the 
prohibition position. 

The Anti-Alcohol Congress in Copenhagen 
The 17th International Anti- Alcohol Congress has been held in Copen- 
hagen, 19th to 24th of August and in connection with this Congress the 
Executive Committee of the World League against Alcoholism held a Con- 
gress under the leadership of its Chairman, Bishop James Cannon, Jr., and 
Dr. Wheeler of Washington, D. C. 


Thirty-four Nations were represented and there were between 600 and 
700 delegates. Among the many languages the Scandinavian, English, French 
and German were mostly spoken. 

The Danish Government took the protectorate of the congresses and 
appropriated a generous sum for the expenses. The Minister of Interior 
opened the Congress. Dr. Hercod of Lausanne was president of the Congress. 

On my writing table I have piles of reports from the Congress with the 
most of the speeches taken down by shorthand and pictures of speakers. 
When I look over this immense stuff, I find that of course America and 
American representatives were the leading men and were objects of special 
honor and interest, because they came from the great country, which dared 
not only to fight but to prohibit the drink-evil, and therefore have the right 
to be heard and respected all over the world. 

Bishop Cannon preached to a large crowd in our Jerusalem church 
Sunday morning and spoke at mass-meetings in the church Tuesday evening 
and in the Concert-palace Friday evening at which last session I had the 
honor to be his interpreter. Dr. Wheeler spoke at a mass-meeting in 
Jerusalem church Thursday evening and at the meeting in the Concert-palace. 
These two distinguished American gentlemen impressed the whole people 
very much with their clear, strong and logical arguments and with the 
immense statistical material, which they were able to bring forth. That Mr. 
Volstead all the time was a central figure at the Congresses and received 
much honor is a self-said thing. 

According to my judgment the following was perhaps the most important 
meeting: The Sunday following the Congress Bishop Cannon accompanied 
me to our usual summer-meeting in Holback (a large community of mer- 
chants, farmers, and military). There was advertised a sermon by me, but 
when the pastor of our local church mounted the platform and faced a 
crowd of about 3,000 people, one of the most intelligent crowds I ever saw, 
and pronounced that Bishop Cannon was our honored guest and would give 
the first address on the subject: "Facts regarding prohibition in the U. S. of 
America" a broad smile, like sunshine, went over the thousands of faces. 
I have interpreted many speeches in my lifetime, but perhaps never one 
clearer, stronger and with a greater effect than that of Bishop Cannon at this 
occasion. It was logical, statistical, persuading and in its polite and eloquent 
form it just overwhelmed the whole crowd. And after an hour it was 
easier for me, than anytime before, at that summer-meeting to preach a gospel 
sermon to the people, which shows that the gospel of salvation and prohibi- 
tion can go very well together. The daily papers had Bishop Cannon's speech 
in extenso and were full of praise over the meeting and especially of our 
distinguished American guest. 

Following the Copenhagen Congress I filled various engagements in 
Geneva, Holland, Switzerland, Belgium, and Greece; and then at the 
invitation of the Scottish Committee I spoke for three days in Scotland, 


all the addresses being delivered in Glasgow, and receiving a very fair 
report in the Glasgow Herald. My Sunday addresses were in two of the 
leading Presbyterian churches with large audiences; a Monday luncheon 
of temperance workers and general luncheon on Tuesday at the Liberal 
Club, with a packed house at the Lyric Theatre of over a thousand on 
Tuesday night completed my labors as a prohibition speaker in Scot- 
land. The local-option law for Scotland is not a fair law, requiring as it 
does too large percentages of voters to call an election, and too large a 
majority to conclude an election. 

Shortly after my addresses in Scotland the Daily Telegraph, one of 
the leading London daily papers, contained an editorial entitled "Rum- 
Running in America." This editorial denounced the part which British 
citizens were taking in the effort to circumvent the American prohibition 
law. I quote one paragraph: 

But much more important is it to consider the attitude of that immense 
majority of Americans who either approve of prohibition as a National 
policy, or at least accept it as the law of the land, and discountenance the 
systematic evasion of it by any means. With them the feeling of indignation 
against the part played by certain of our own people is strong and is not 
diminished; and as support for prohibition increases in America — as all the 
indications suggest that it is doing — the position grows more serious. 

After reading this editorial I wrote an article entitled "America and 
Prohibition," which the Daily Telegraph published in full to the extent 
of a column and one-half. This article asked for fair play by Great 
Britain in controlling rum-running as far as possible and emphasizing 
the character and standing of leading Americans who are upholding the 
prohibition law. 

On my return to the United States, President Harding having died, 
I went to see' President Calvin Coolidge, with whom I had only a slight 
acquaintance. Mr. Coolidge, as is well known, was a man not given 
to much speech. I emphasized, as chairman of the commission of our 
Church, and as chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Anti- 
Saloon League of America, the sentiment of both those bodies that the 
matter of real importance in the prohibition situation was the appropria- 
tion of sufficient money, and the employment of sufficient men for law 
enforcement. Mr. Coolidge stated that prohibition was a part of the 
Constitution, and the Constitution ought to be enforced, and that he 
would so express himself to those in the government who were charged 
with that matter. I have no doubt that he was genuinely interested, 
but as he did not manifest any special enthusiasm, I felt that it was really 


a matter for congratulation when in his message to Congress he re- 
ferred to prohibition as follows: 

With this action on the part of the National Government, and the 
cooperation which is usually rendered by municipal and state authorities, 
prohibition should be made effective. Free government has no greater 
menace than disrespect for authority and continued violation of law. It is 
the duty of a citizen not only to observe the law but to let it be known that 
he is opposed to its violation. 

I reported the result of my interview to Dr. Wheeler and told him 
very frankly that I thought that it was absolutely necessary that there be 
a new setup for the Prohibition Enforcement Department. I told him 
that I personally liked Major Haynes, but I did not think that he was 
the man for the place, and that a better equipped man should be found. 
Dr. Wheeler did not agree with my position. He seemed to think he 
could work so effectively through Major Haynes as to meet the needs 
of the situation, and he especially feared the appointment of someone 
with whom he would not have the same close relation. 

I told him then, and told him again, at the convention in January, 
1924, before the Legislative Committee, that I thought it hurtful, that it 
was commonly said that he was consulted about all the appointments in 
the Prohibition Department, and that he was considered as a real dis- 
penser of federal patronage. Dr. Wheeler did not deny the correctness 
of the report, but when the Legislative Committee requested him to 
desist from such activity he agreed to do so, but as a matter of fact he 
really could not keep from having a voice in what were really political 

In December, 1923, the College of Bishops of our Church met at San 
Antonio, and for the first time in its history made a deliverance on 
the law enforcement situation in the nation. It declared: 

The Eighteenth Amendment prohibits the manufacture and sale of 
intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes. The Supreme Court of the 
United States will, therefore, necessarily declare unconstitutional all amend- 
ments to the Volstead Act proposing to legalize either manufacture or sale of 
intoxicating wine and beer. Traffic in intoxicants of any kind is lawless. Fear 
of prompt, adequate punishment, while not abolishing greatly diminishes 
lawlessness. Industrial, social, educational, moral and religious forces of the 
nation, led by its Christian citizenship, fought the legalized liquor traffic, 
securing National prohibition. The same great forces must unitedly fight 
with equal vigor and persistence the outlawed criminal traffic. . . . Above 
all there must be continued educational emphasis in the press, in the pulpit 
and in the schools from the evils of alcoholism and the destructive results of 
lawlessness upon the entire fabric of national life. 


At the National Anti-Saloon League Convention held in Washington 
in January [1924] I made an address, or rather a report, as chairman of 
the National Legislative Committee, the keynote of which address was: 
"Today our fight is not for prohibition. It is distincdy and unequivocally 
a fight against lawlessness." In that address I once more emphasized 
what to me was from the beginning the important factor. 

We must demand that whatever amount of money, and whatever force of 
men are necessary to subdue lawlessness be promptly provided. If ten million 
of dollars and twenty-five hundred men are not enough, then twenty million 
and five thousand men should be furnished; and if twenty million are not 
sufficient, then fifty million and ten thousand men — in short, whatever is 
found necessary must be furnished. The supreme law of the land is at 
stake. The interests are too great to permit our enemies to determine the 
amount of appropriation, the size of our enforcement army and the amount 
of our equipment with which we are to suppress lawlessness and win an abid- 
ing victory. . . . 

The most prominent officials of the Anti-Saloon League at that time 
were Dr. Wheeler and Dr. Cherrington. Dr. Wheeler had charge of 
the work at Washington under the direction of the Legislative Com- 
mittee. Washington was the sounding-board of the nation. Dr. Wheeler 
highly estimated the value of publicity for the prohibition cause rightly 
used. Like all other men he did not dislike being complimented, nor 
did he object to having ascribed to him the dominating leadership of 
the Anti-Saloon League of America. I think that he tried to use it as 
an effective asset for the prohibition cause. He . . . secured a very able 
assistant in the person of Mr. Edward B. Dunford, 18 of Richmond, Vir- 
ginia, who had been the attorney for my friend, the Reverend J. Sidney 
Peters, Commissioner of Prohibition for Virginia. Dr. Wheeler, after two 
or three years of experience with Mr. Dunford, declared concerning Mr. 
Dunford: "He has the most magnificent legal mind I have ever met." 

Almost from the time of Mr. Dunford's coming to Washington Dr. 
Wheeler turned over the work of the legal department to him, and Mr. 
Dunford prepared innumerable briefs, going to state and federal 
courts, and even to the United States Supreme Court. All these briefs 
bore Dr. Wheeler's name, for Mr. Dunford has always been a man who 
has had no love for the limelight. But this vast amount of legal activity 
greatly added to Dr. Wheeler's prestige as head of the Washington 

18. Edward Bradstreet Dunford (1890- ), Richmond lawyer, was chief clerk and 
attorney for the Virginia Commission of Prohibition (1917-1921); and assistant attorney 
of the Anti-Saloon League of America (1 921 -1927). 


Dr. Ernest H. Cherrington, as I have indicated eles where, was in 
my judgment the greatest personal factor in securing the adoption of the 
Eighteenth Amendment, by the constant stream of appropriate litera- 
ture which rolled from the Westerville presses, and by the effective plat- 
form campaigns which were carried on under his management. Per- 
sonally, I believed that Dr. Cherrington had played a more important 
part in the prohibition work in the nation than anyone else, and I 
approved of his methods more than I did of those of Dr. Wheeler. 
Owing to personal intimate contacts with President Harding, and his 
less intimate, but still influential contacts with President Coolidge and 
owing to his appearance as attorney before the Supreme Court and as 
Legislative Superintendent before Congress, Dr. Wheeler was more in 
the spotlight than was Dr. Cherrington. 

My relations with both men were very cordial; indeed rather inti- 
mate. I had been on the Executive Committee of the League for twenty 
years, had been chairman of the Legislative Committee for ten years, had 
worked very pleasantly with Dr. Wheeler when he was a member of 
the Legislative Committee, and after he had become attorney and Legis- 
lative Superintendent, I talked to him very frankly, but without heat, 
concerning matters on which we greatly differed. Dr. Wheeler was an 
amiable man, and rarely expressed himself as positively as I did in our 
discussions. On this question, however, of the election of a national 
superintendent, we did speak very plainly. I told Dr. Wheeler that if 
he wanted to be General Superintendent, and would give up the work 
of Legislative Superintendent and Attorney, turning that over to Mr. 
Dunford, with such supervision as the General Superintendent might 
properly give, I would not oppose his election because I did not see how 
the League could get on without the great work that Dr. Cherrington 
was already doing, unless Dr. Cherrington had trained subordinates who 
could take up his work under his supervision as General Superintendent. 
But I told Dr. Wheeler that unless he would resign as Legislative 
Superintendent and Attorney, and accept the General Superintendency, 
he knew, as well as I knew, that the ablest man in the League for that 
position was Dr. Cherrington. 

Wheeler apparently toyed with the idea of the General Superintend- 
ency for a while, but then flatly told me that he could not take it, that 
he could not give up his work at the Washington office. I then told him 
that my duty was clear: I must support Dr. Cherrington for the position 
of General Superintendent. He argued with me at great length con- 
cerning the great importance of the work which Dr. Cherrington was 
doing, and the great mistake it would be to take him out of that work 



for which he was so conspicuously fitted and elect him to a position for 
which he was unfitted. 

I told Dr. Wheeler plainly, but in all kindness, that I had given the 
matter a great deal of thought, that I had listened to all that he had to 
say, and that I thought that jealousy was at the bottom of his opposition 
to Dr. Cherrington's election; that if Dr. Cherrington should be made 
General Superintendent he would be much more active than Dr. Baker 
had been during the last four years, and that Dr. Wheeler himself feared 
that Dr. Cherrington would interfere with the work of the Washington 
office. Dr. Wheeler did not resent the statement of my analysis of the 
situation, simply saying that, of course, I was wrong, that he really 
thought that Cherrington should stay where he was. But he followed me 
with a letter of some length to which I replied, stating in my letter 
practically what I have indicated above. 

Owing to the fact that before the call for the convention where the 
new superintendent was elected, I had been appointed by the commission 
of my own Church, and asked by the Commission on Relations with 
Religious Bodies in Europe of the Federal Council to attend the Copek 
Conference held in April [1924] in Birmingham, England, and had 
made all my arrangements to go and had speaking engagements in 
England, I was not present at that convention. But so strongly did I feel 
about the matter that I did not hesitate to write a letter expressing my 
views to the members of the Board of Directors. 

As I was not present at the convention and do not know myself 
exactly what happened, I can only state that Dr. Wheeler was success- 
ful and prevented the election of Dr. Cherrington. Had I been present 
I would have voted and would have spoken to the Committee on Nom- 
inations for Dr. Cherrington's nomination. 

I should not have spoken against Dr. F. Scott McBride 19 because 
I had only an acquaintance with him as an active, successful state 
superintendent. When I returned from England, Dr. Wheeler was 
apprehensive lest I would antagonize Dr. McBride, but this I never did. 
The convention had not acted in accordance with my views, but I 
considered the question to be finally settled, and I thought it was my 
duty to co-operate to the fullest extent possible with the official setup, 
much as I disapproved of Dr. Wheeler's course. It never affected my 
personal relations with Dr. Wheeler, but I began to realize very fully 
that something must be done to cut the League loose from Republican 

19. F. Scott McBride (1872- ) was District Superintendent of the Anti-Saloon 
League of Illinois (1911-1912), State Superintendent (1912-1924), and General Superinten- 
dent of the Pennsylvania Anti-Saloon League (1936-1943). 


political entanglement and secure a Prohibition Commissioner such as 
we had never had. 

Earlier in the year, under a Tammany-controlled Court, Superintend- 
ent William H. Anderson, of the state of New York, had been con- 
victed by a Tammany jury of third-degree forgery, which consisted 
in the altering of certain entries in the books of the Anti-Saloon League 
to make them conform to the facts. 20 I had talked over the case with 
Superintendent Anderson before it came to trial and advised him of the 
danger that he was in, but he did not seem to realize it. When the 
verdict was rendered, I was not at all surprised, and wrote Superintendent 
Anderson as follows: 

Verdict not surprising; indeed it was practically a foregone conclusion 
that a pure-blooded American, representing Protestant moral forces, who has 
fearlessly, successfully fought beasts at Ephesus, be convicted on any charge, 
regardless of evidence in a court with a wet foreign-born Tammany District 
Attorney, absurdly pretending to protect from fraud the Anti-Saloon League 
constituency, the organization which he really hates and wishes to destroy, 
and with a jury in a city, where confessedly Satan's seat is, and where the 
attitude of the press as a whole encourages such a verdict by its sneering, 
ridiculing, nullifying attitude toward Constitutional prohibition and its 
advocates. The verdict simply emphasizes the un-American, liquor-controlled, 
nullifying attitude of the foreign-populated city called New York, the rulers 
of which city in their rage repealed the Mullan-Gage Law, 21 and certainly 
greatly prefer to put prohibition advocates rather than liquor lawbreakers 
in jail. While like others, you have sometimes made mistakes, some small, 
some graver, no evidence has been presented that you have either defrauded 
any person, or the League, or that you have played the coward as did the 
Italian-born Pecora, who took advantage of his opportunities through you 
to spit venom in cowardly fashion at prohibition and its victorious advocates. 
It is absurd for anyone to assert that any proof was presented that you com- 
mitted any real forgery. 

In May, 1924, there was a hearing before the House Judiciary Com- 
mittee in Washington on pending bills to legalize 2.75 beer. As chair- 

20. Anderson was indicted on charges of grand larceny, forgery, and extortion. He 
was convicted only of the third-degree forgery charge even though testimony was 
damaging on other counts. He was never brought to trial on the other counts. The 
presiding judge received considerable praise for his conduct of the trial, particularly for 
his charge to the jury. There was divided reaction among the clergy and prohibition 
forces at the verdict (New York Times, Jan. 5 ff., 1924). 

21. The Mullan-Gage Law became law April 4, 1921. It was designed to supplement 
the Volstead Act by state action, was actually similar to the Volstead Act, and carried 
severe penalties {Laws of New Yor\, 144th Session, chaps. 155-157, pp. 502-521; for 
the problem of enforcement see Charles Merz, The Dry Decade, Doubleday, Garden 
City, N. Y., c. 1930, pp. 203 ff.). It was repealed in 1923. 


man of the Legislative Committee, and chairman of the commission 
of our own Church, I appeared as one of the opponents of the proposed 
legislation, which legislation was reported unfavorably by the com- 
mittee. During my testimony I was asked by a member of the commit- 
tee whether I did not think there was more drinking among young 
men and women under prohibition. I replied that I thought very few 
high-school boys carried flasks in their hip-pockets, only those who did 
so out of a spirit of braggadocio adventure. Concerning the intoxicat- 
ing effect of beer, which was disputed by my questioner, I declared that 
I had been somewhat out of contact with beer-drinkers since my college 
days, but that I knew from experience that some of my classmates used 
to get very drunk on beer. 

I then emphasized that I thought the question of improper conduct, 
even immorality, among our 'young people was more significant than 
drinking, that the free moral life of France had greatly impressed the 
young men who had served overseas during the war and that their views 
toward women had been greatly affected by the French attitude toward 
sex life; that I thought the result has been the development of an 
alarming attitude among young women towards morals, and that things 
were being done which would not have been tolerated before the war. 

The New York Times gave a headline in bold, black type to my 
testimony: "Declares Women Flout Old Morals. Bishop Cannon at House 
Beer Hearing Lays Lowering of Tone Here to French Influence. Sees 
Effect on Soldiers." 

My statement were very sharply attacked by some persons who were 
doubtless sincere, but who had not made the investigation which I had 
made in 1918 and 1919. But anyone who does not know that the attitude 
of American society generally toward sexual relations was radically 
different before the war from that of the French people is simply igno- 
rant of the facts, and anyone who does not know that there has been an 
amazing change in the American attitude since then has his eyes shut to 
what is going on about him. It still remains true, however, as Arthur 
Brisbane said in one of his last daily letters to the press, that one-fifth 
of all the births in France are illegitimate births. Out of 41,000 births 
last year, 9,000 were illegitimate. American social life has not yet des- 
cended quite that low. 

The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church met in 
Springfield, Massachusetts, in May, 1924. It had been my habit to attend 
the General Conference of that Church since 1904. The question of 
unification and also of prohibition were exceedingly live topics, and 
when I was called upon to speak I made references to both matters, 


giving a very frank statement as to what I thought would happen in 
the event that a man should be nominated who did not favor the 
effective enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment. This statement 
called out an editorial in the New York Times of May 18 in which the 
question was asked: "What sort of a Democrat is Bishop Cannon?" 
I wrote to the Times a reply to the editorial and inasmuch as it states 
the position which I held in 1924, four years before the nomination of 
Governor Smith, I think it is important as setting forth the position 
which I held all through those years. 

To the Editor of the New York Times; 

In your issue of May 18 there was an editorial, the greater part of which 
was a discussion of the statement made by the writer in the General Con- 
ference of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Springfield. You ask: "What 
sort of Democrat is he (Bishop Cannon)?" Taking it for granted that the 
question is asked in good faith, an attempt will be made to answer. It will 
assist a correct understanding to quote, first, exactly what the writer said at 
Springfield. This was the language used: 

"I may illustrate how this matter appears to me by reference to the 
political situation. I have always been a States'-rights, free-trade Democrat: 
I do not know or see how I could ever be a Republican, and yet the brand 
of 'Democrat' and 'Republican' is not so firmly fixed that there may not be 
circumstances when that brand temporarily fades away. For example, should 
the Democratic party, of which I am a member, nominate a man for President 
of the United States who does not favor the effective enforcement of the 
Eighteenth Amendment and of the Volstead Act, or of something even 
stronger than the Volstead Act for the enforcement of the Eighteenth Amend- 
ment; while I am a Democrat, I am not a lawbreaker, and should the 
Republican party nominate a man who stands squarely for the genuine, 
better enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment than we have had up to 
this time, I think I know my people in the South well enough to say that in 
that event the issue with them would not be Democracy versus Republicanism; 
it would be law versus lawlessness. And if there should then be a 'solid South,' 
I am satisfied that it would be a solid South against liquor lawlessness. And 
I have enough confidence in you brethren sitting before me that you would 
take exactly that same action if the position should be reversed." 

The writer was asked by the New York Times reporter whether in his 
political illustration he was referring to Governor Smith, and he replied that 
his statement included Governor Smith, or any other man, Democrat or 
Republican, who might be nominated by either party whose record had been 
such that it was thought that he would be an acceptable candidate to those 
who are opposed to the genuinely effective enforcement of the Eighteenth 
Amendment. He furthermore said that it was an insult to the Southern people 
to assert or imagine that they would vote blindly in mass formation for any 



man who might be nominated by the Democratic party regardless of his 
attitude on great moral issues. Party loyalty holds in reference to great 
political principles, but party allegiance can neither be required nor expected 
when candidates are nominated who are generally understood to be opposed 
to the moral convictions of great masses of the voters, and especially is this 
true if they are nominated on the bare, bold assumption that political af- 
filiations are so much more binding than moral convictions, that the 
Southern people will vote for a man who has the Democratic label on him, 
even though it is known that the very purpose of his nomination is to secure 
"wet" votes, and although it is well understood that the election of Governor 
Smith would be declared to be clear proof that the country has repudiated 
its decision on the question of prohibition, and it would be demanded, 
therefore, that the Volstead Act should be modified to meet the views of 
Governor Smith. The moral issue at stake is far greater than any political 
issue, and there are millions of Southern men and women who hold their 
allegiance to moral convictions to be far more binding than to purely politi- 
cal platforms. 

I think this full statement indicates what the writer meant when he 
authorized the statement in Who's Who that he is an "Independent Dem- 
ocrat." The language, "I have always been a states'-rights, free-trade 
Democrat," was used at Springfield to emphasize as strongly as possible 
how utterly impossible it would be, politically speaking, for the writer to 
become a Republican. He is a states'-rights Democrat in the same sense that 
he believes that no duty or responsibility should be laid upon the federal 
government if the state can perform that duty equally as well, and he is 
certainly opposed to any effort on the part of the federal government to 
assert any authority on any matter, except as such authority is clearly con- 
ferred upon it by the Constitution. And, furthermore, he believes that no 
duty or responsibility should be laid upon the federal government, even by 
a constitutional amendment, unless it has become evident that the several 
states cannot perform that duty equally as well without the assistance of 
the general government. The writer would not have favored the Eighteenth 
Amendment, had he not become convinced that the concurrent co-operating 
powers of state and nation were necessary to abate the ever-increasing greed 
and lawlessness of the liquor traffic. Likewise the writer believes in free 
trade in the commonly accepted meaning of that term, as it was used by 
President Cleveland, and exemplified in the Wilson bill of the Cleveland 
administration, as opposed to the McKinley, the Aldrich and the present-day 
Fordney-McCumber tariff. 

While a Democrat, therefore, on purely political issues, the writer is 
"independent" in the sense that he has always placed moral issues above 
purely political policies. The prohibition question is, in the thinking of many 
millions of the American people, at base a distinctly moral question. For this 
reason, the writer has opposed the effort to make prohibition a party question, 
whether in state or in nation. As superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League 


of Virginia for many years (without salary), he insisted that state-wide 
prohibition was not a partisan but was a moral issue, and in Virginia the 
Democrats and Republicans have always worked side by side in securing 
prohibition legislation. Likewise, as chairman of the National Legislative 
Committee of the Anti-Saloon League of America, from the organization of 
that committee in 19 13 to the present time, he has insisted that the pro- 
hibition question has no place in a political party platform, and at the 
Democratic convention in San Francisco he went before the Committee on 
Resolutions and opposed the adoption of either a wet or a dry plank. He 
holds that same view in reference to a prohibition plank in either party plat- 
form this year. 

In his speech at Springfield, he endeavored to show how futile it would 
be for any political convention, of either party, to imagine that it could 
transcend its proper bounds and bind the members of the party not only on 
political issues, but on a great moral question by nominating a candidate for 
the Presidency who, whatever might be said to the contrary, would stand out 
before the nation as the embodiment of a direct attack upon what millions of 
voters honestly believe to be a paramount moral issue. Should Governor 
Smith be nominated by the Democratic convention, or President Butler by 
the Republican convention, in either case it would be taken by the country 
as a direct bid to secure the "wet" vote, and in the event of such nomination 
the issue would no longer be Democracy or Republicanism, but would be 
"dry" or "wet," the strengthening or the repeal of the Volstead Act, the 
rigid or the lax enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment. 

The writer repeats what he said at Springfield, that in that case, "If there 
should be a solid South, I am satisfied that it would be a solid South against 
liquor lawlessness." Kindly note that there is no declaration that there would 
be a solid South. The writer does not think that there would be. He is 
satisfied that there would be a greater break in the solid South than in 
1922, when Kentucky and Tennessee broke away from the candidacy of 
Governor Cox; but he is convinced that if there should be a solid South at all, 
it would be a solid South against liquor lawlessness. 

In an editorial in the New York Times some days ago there appeared 
the following statement: "There seems small chance of a better candidate 
than Governor Smith. The objections brought against him are thin and 

The writer respectfully submits that while the objections against Governor 
Smith may, in the judgment of the Editor of the Times, be "thin," it is cer- 
tainly a very sweeping implication of the motives of many millions of people 
to say that they are "disingenuous." They are no more disingenuous than is 
the attitude of these same millions of people on the question of prohibition. 
If they are honest and sincere in their support of prohibition, and of their 
desire that the Eighteenth Amendment shall be effectively enforced, then their 
objections to Governor Smith are not "disingenuous," but are absolutely 


The Southern Baptist Convention, representing more than 3,000,000 
communicants and 10,000,000 adherents, at its recent session in Atlanta, 
adopted a clear-cut resolution that "Southern Baptists will not support for 
President any candidate who is wet." This objection to "wetness" in Gover- 
nor Smith may be "thin" but the editor of the Times will hardly indict 
this great convention as "disingenuous." Dry Southern Democrats will not 
agree to be driven like a herd of branded cattle into a corral which has 
"Democrat" over the entrance and has "wet" placarded all over the walls. 

James Cannon, Jr. 

Washington, D. C. June 2, 1924 

On June 5, 1924, I wrote an identical letter to Senators Glass and 
Swanson, who were among the delegates-at-large to the Democratic 
convention. In this letter I said: 

I am enclosing in this a page from the New York Times containing a 
statement made by me in response to the editorial in the Times of some 
days ago. I trust that this statement will not read me out of the Democratic 
party. If it does, I think, it will also read out a majority of the Southern 
drys. If you do not think it will read me out I hope you will still do your 
best to get me a ticket for the Convention. I am counting on the Virginia 
Senators to help me through. 

Senator Swanson simply replied that I would get a ticket all right. 
But in view of what happened four years later, I am giving in full the 
letter from Senator Glass: 

Washington, June 6, 1924 

Dear Bishop Cannon: 

Acknowledging yours of June 5, I may say if you have read yourself out 
of the Democratic party, you have done so only by stating what will in- 
evitably ensue if the thing should happen of which your statement is a 
predicate. The people of this country are steadfast in their determination 
not to be cheated of the fruits of their victory over the liquor traffic. You may 
be sure that I have you in mind for a ticket to the National Convention. 

Sincerely yours, 
Carter Glass. 

I wired Senator Glass as chairman of the Resolutions Committee as 
follows : 

Will reach Herald Square Hotel Monday night. As chairman Temper- 
ance Commission Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and chairman Na- 
tional Legislative Committee Anti-Saloon League entirely satisfied with law 
enforcement plank Virginia convention. Am positively opposed as at San 
Francisco to dry plank such as advocated there by Bryan. Wish appear prop- 
er time before Committee on Resolutions to represent organizations indicated 


As at the San Francisco Convention, there were presented wet 
and dry planks, but, as in 1920, I opposed the adoption of any prohibi- 
tion plank. Mr. Bryan, while insisting on a dry plank, did not make 
the same kind of effort that he made at San Francisco, and the position 
which I took was adopted by the committee over against the strenuous 
opposition of the members committed to the candidacy of Governor 

Dr. Wheeler and I had rooms at the Herald Square Hotel and were 
in continual communication. Dr. Wheeler and Mr. Bryan were close 
friends, and Dr. Wheeler tried to do his work through Mr. Bryan 
without criticism. As long as the fight persisted between William 
Gibbs McAdoo and Alfred Emanuel Smith, the activity of Dr. Wheeler 
was not especially criticized, although remarks were made in many 
quarters that a man who it was known would be aggressive in his 
support of President Coolidge for re-election should not try to be in- 
fluential in the nomination of the Democratic candidate. 

I suggested to Dr. Wheeler, indeed emphasized, that it would be 
better that I be in contact with the leaders of the Southern delegation 
and finally insisted positively that that must be the method followed. 
Dr. Wheeler was always unable to realize that his intense Republican 
partisanship was well known by the Democratic leaders, who, while rec- 
ognizing his sincerity as a prohibitionist and his ability, did not 
think he was sufficiently impartial to try to influence the Democratic 
nominations for President, as he did at New York. 

While the deadlock between McAdoo and Smith continued, the 
special session of our General Conference at Chattanooga was held. 
I felt that my duty was to the General Conference, and so left New 
York. But upon reaching Chattanooga I found telegrams from leading 
Southern Democrats urging me to return as promptly as possible; so 
immediately upon the adjournment of the General Conference I re- 
turned to New York, and upon my arrival discussed with Dr. Wheeler 
the situation as it had then developed. 

We agreed that neither Smith nor McAdoo could be nominated. 
With this Dr. Wheeler was satisfied, but, as a Democrat, desiring the 
success of the Democratic party. I was not satisfied. I discussed with 
Dr. Wheeler the possibility of nominating Senator Thomas Walsh of 
Montana, who had shown great ability as permanent chairman of the 
convention, and whose dry views were unquestioned. Had Senator 
Walsh agreed to accept, I think he could have been nominated, and 
if he had done so, it would have been shown that the Protestant drys 
would vote for a dry Roman Catholic, and there would not have been 


precipitated the issue four years later of attempting to drive Protestant 
drys to support a wet Roman Catholic. But Senator Walsh declined 
to make the race. I had endeavored to get some of my friends on the 
Virginia delegation, which was instructed to vote for the nomination 
of Senator Glass, to give the vote of the Virginia delegation to McAdoo 
for two or three ballots to see whether the delegates pledged to other 
favorite sons would follow suit. I said that if that should result in the 
nomination of McAdoo, he would be under obligation to the Virginia 
delegation; that if it did not have that result, it would make Mr. Mc- 
Adoo feel under obligation to Virginia and would cause him to try to 
influence his delegates to vote for Senator Glass when the inevitable 
break came. 

Mr. Bryan, learning, I think through Dr. Wheeler, of my proposal, 
expressed some doubts as to the prohibition views of Senator Glass. 
Whereupon, although I had no special reason to advocate the nomination 
of Senator Glass, I thought it unfair that he should be misrepresented 
on a question on which, to my knowledge, he had been consistent, and 
I so wrote very positively to Mr. Bryan. I am of the opinion that, had 
the Virginia delegation followed the suggestions which I made to some 
of the delegates, Senator Glass would have finally secured the support of 
enough men to have given him the nomination. 

But it seemed impossible to bring together sufficient votes to nominate 
any man who was outstanding either as a wet or as a dry, and so the 
nomination finally went to the Honorable John W. Davis, a gentleman 
of high legal attainments and a polished speaker, but with no appeal 
in his candidacy except to the strict Democratic party vote. 

Much to my surprise, at the close of the convention Dr. Wheeler 
handed to me a statement which he had prepared to send out, emphasiz- 
ing the fact that he had been the man behind the scenes who had 
directed the strategy by which the nomination of a wet candidate had 
been defeated. He seemed unable to understand why I told him that 
such a statement ought not to be given out, and when he insisted, I 
was obliged to say to him, as chairman of the National Legislative Com- 
mittee, that if the statement was not withheld from the press I would 
issue a statement repudiating his utterance as representative of the Anti- 
Saloon League. I then prepared a brief statement, which was the only 
statement issued by the Anti-Saloon League, as follows: 

The wets have been defeated in their efforts to secure a wet plank or a 
wet candidate at the Democratic convention. There is no smell of beer or 


wine in the Democratic platform, and the candidate is a strong advocate of 
law enforcement. 

James Cannon, Jr., Chairman 

Legislative Committee, Anti-Saloon League 
of America. 

I expressed myself more strongly to Dr. Wheeler than I had ever 
done before concerning the strong manifestation of his political partisan- 
ship, and his failure, as I saw it, to press important matters in order that 
he might keep on most friendly terms with the Republican administra- 
tion. I reminded him that the overwhelming majorities which we were 
able to secure in Congress came from the Democratic South and South- 
west, and that his all-too-open apparent satisfaction that the Democratic 
party would be defeated in the coming presidential election was not very 
politic, except in private interviews with his Republican friends. 

There was not, however, any real personal breach between Dr. 
Wheeler and myself, but there was a more distinct understanding of 
what I thought was the proper attitude for the Legislative Superintendent 
of the Anti-Saloon League of America to hold, no matter what might 
be his personal political convictions. 

The Southern Democrats, and all dry delegates at the New York 
convention, had such a demonstration there of the methods of Tammany 
Hall that the echoes of it went sounding down through the four years 
until 1928. The decision of the National Democratic Committee to hold 
a convention in New York was hailed as a great triumph by the Smith 
partisans, and it did furnish an opportunity for the galleries to attempt 
to bulldoze and intimidate the convention, which method was carried 
out to the full later on in Chicago in 1932. 

The convention hall, Madison Square Garden, was so arranged as 
to seat about 14,000, and nearly one-half of the seats were under the 
control of the local committee. I had a seat in the gallery right near the 
Speaker's platform and could see the whole auditorium, floor and 
galleries. On the day on which Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Al- 
fred Emanuel Smith the galleries had been packed with more than three- 
fourths Tammany ites and Irish Catholics. There were Roman Catholic 
priests sitting at strategic points in the galleries. These galleries were 
absolutely under Roman Catholic Tammany domination. At a given 
signal they applauded. At another given signal they hooted and jeered in 
such fashion that it was evident that the whole thing was manipulated. 

The climax was reached when William Jennings Bryan arose to 
speak on the question of putting in or leaving out of the platform the 
three words "Ku-Klux-Klan." Thirty-nine of the Committee on Res- 


olutions favored a plank not mentioning the Ku-Klux-Klan, but a 
minority of fourteen brought in a resolution condemning that organiza- 
tion by name. The wiser heads tried to avoid the issue, but the Roman 
Catholics insisted on condemning the Klan specifically. Every speaker 
who defended the